"For Farmers" scheme from UK grocer Morrisons raises £20 million for sustainable farming

Sales of Morrisons "For Farmers" dairy and egg ranges have helped British farmers invest in sustainability initiatives like increased woodland and insect habitat and improve animal welfare by allowing more grazing and free roaming time.
calendar icon 15 July 2021
clock icon 5 minute read

Morrisons customers have raised £20 million to support farms and the countryside by choosing to pay a little more for products in Morrisons For Farmers range.

The funds have been ploughed back into a range of farm schemes to improve biodiversity and further improve animal welfare, in a period when British farmers have faced financial uncertainty due to Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In October 2015, Morrisons was the first British retailer to launch a dairy product where part of the purchase price went directly back to farmers. Milk For Farmers was the original product - at 10p-a-litre more than Morrisons own label standard milk - with the full difference passed on to its dairy farmers. The range now includes Cheese For Farmers, Cream For Farmers and Eggs For Farmers which similarly give customers the opportunity to pay a little more to support farmers directly.

Funds from the For Farmers range have helped the farmed and natural environment. Morrisons For Farmers "Chuckle Eggs", costing an extra 1p per egg more, has enabled farmers to invest money in planting woodland and creating insect-friendly wildflower habitats for their free-range chickens to roam around in. To date 169 acres have been planted. This month a similar insect habitat scheme is being rolled out across all Morrisons milk farms.

Money from the Milk for Farmers range has enabled more investment in animal husbandry from the 140 dairy farmers aligned to Morrisons. Farmers directly selling into the Morrisons Milk For Farmers range grazed their cows for an average of 224 days last year – over a hundred more days than are required.

Dairy farmers have also put the additional money towards new rotating brushes, mattresses and scratch pads for cows, along with foot baths to reduce lameness.

Sophie Throup, Head of Agriculture at Morrisons, said: “Our farmers continue to face some uncertainty due to the impact of Brexit and the pandemic. So we are pleased to have passed on £20 million from our For Farmers range to help fund initiatives which may otherwise have suffered from under-investment. It’s great to see many customers want to pay more to support British farmers - and want to buy dairy products from cows that have been let out to graze and eggs from free range hens who can roam in enriched woodland and grassland areas.”

Morrisons is British farming’s biggest supermarket customer and buys directly from over 3,000 farmers and growers. Morrisons is 100% British for its fresh meat, milk and eggs and always buys British produce first when in season and when available.

Morrisons has already embarked on a programme to be completely supplied by net zero carbon British farms by 2030, five years ahead of the market. Over the next nine years, Morrisons will work with its 3,000 farmers and growers to produce affordable "net zero" carbon meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables. As part of the programme, Morrisons will also work with universities, farming and countryside organisations and carbon experts.

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