James Scarr, Red Tractor dairy farmer
James Scarr is the fifth generation of his family to farm at Coleby Hall in the Yorkshire Dales.
His herd of 80 cows are milked twice a day for about ten minutes each to produce approximately 12 litres per cow, per milking.
They graze on lush green pasture close to Askrigg in the north of the Dales, in the summer and in the winter the cows are housed protecting them from the cold, wet Yorkshire weather.
Coleby Hall is Red Tractor assured, meaning that the farm follows strict procedures to ensure that the cows are kept in great condition and that the milk that they produce can be fully traced from the parlour right the way through to the point it is sold. Red Tractor standards also ensure that milk production is safe and hygienic to maximise quality
“I’ve been a dairy farmer all my life,” James said. “I like working with the cows and my job is working outside in the Yorkshire Dales – I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s important that we are a Red Tractor assured farm because we can demonstrate that we’re meeting high standards in the way that we look after our cows and produce our milk.”
The farm has been part of the Red Tractor scheme for more than a decade and can be inspected unannounced at any time. James also has to keep records of all his animals so he knows their health history, and he also adheres to strict hygiene conditions.
He calls the Red Tractor Assurance scheme the ‘seal of approval’ that he is doing things right, and it also helps him sell his milk to a local company.
Unlike some dairy farms, the milk that his cows produce isn’t sold in its liquid form in the supermarkets – it’s used to produce a famous local cheese called Yorkshire Wensleydale.
Made in Hawes, the milk only has a few miles to travel after the tanker comes to collect it from James’s farm. Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese is made entirely from milk from herds which are Red Tractor assured.
Once the milk reaches the creamery it is pasteurised and a starter culture is added before rennet is poured in. The curds and whey are then separated and the curds are salted before being pressed into a mold and matured for several months.
Yorkshire Wensleydale’s managing director David Hartley said: “It’s important that we buy milk from farmers who are Red Tractor assured. It’s a system that shows us the compliance with the whole process of traceability right through the supply chain. The people who sell our cheese need to be able to show that everything is traceable, ethical and environmentally sound and we can demonstrate that all the way.”
You can support Red Tractor farmers like James by looking for the logo on food packaging next time you go shopping.