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By Hugh Boag
A crowd-funding campaign by a dairy farmers trying to save Campbeltown Creamery has smashed its initial target in just 72 hours.
They have already raised more than £70,000 – £20,000 more than their intitial target and there is still more than two weeks of fundraising to go.
The crowd-funding campaign is part of a bid by 29 Kintyre dairy farmers to buy-out the creamery from First Milk, who plan to close it, to keep producing the world-famous Mull of Kintyre cheese.
Already 840 supporters have pledged their cash to the cause and one of the lead farmers Thomas Cameron said: ‘We are astonished. It has been the most incredible week for us dairy farmers down in Kintyre. We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the support and love that our supporters have shown our beloved Mull of Kintyre cheese and Kintyre itself.
‘The monetary donations received from the campaign to date are an essential part to help us fund the takeover. These donations have totally surpassed all our expectations and continue to do so. We have exceeded our £50,000 target in less than 72 hours!
As the Courier went to press the crowd-funding total stood at £72,418.
Negotiations with First Milk who are still operating the creamery are continuing and no agreement has yet been reached on a takeover by the farmers.
Thomas, who farms at Gartvaigh in the south end, went on: ‘As a result we have stretched our campaign to a target of £80,000 to further help us fund this process as well as try and accommodate all these who wish to donate and pass on their messages and stories about what Mull of Kintyre cheese means to them.
‘When we, the dairy farmers, takeover we are effectively starting afresh. It will take nine months for us to have produced our first batch of cheese ready for consumers. This is due to the maturation period of turning the grass fed milk supplied by the Kintyre dairy farms into the award winning Mull of Kintyre cheddar we all love.
‘As a result this will require a large amount of funding to produce the cheese without having the sales of the finished Mull of Kintyre cheddar.
‘This funding is being met by a number of different sources with one of the largest sources being the farmers themselves. Other sources of funding are likely to come in the forms of loans/borrowings. If we can reduce the amount of borrowing required then the business will be more viable and as a result more likely to succeed for the long term future.
‘That’s where the stretch funding of our campaign comes in. It will help to reduce the amount of money required to be borrowed by the new business.
‘We cannot thank any of our supporters enough for their generosity thus far and hopefully the success of this campaign and the amazing comments on it will help to encourage funders and retailers alike to align themselves with this unique, award winning product.’
In 2018, First Milk announced plans to sell Campbeltown Creamery as part of a move away from smaller-scale brands. This created an opportunity for a farmer-led buy-out, aimed at saving the creamery and securing its future and the positive impact it has upon the area.
The group is encouraging the local community, foodies, suppliers, customers, businesses and anyone with a love of cheese to contribute to the crowdfund – further information can be found at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/mokcheddar