Yester Farm Dairies Limited
Profiles/ Simon McCreery, Yester Farm Dairies Ltd, Gfford, East Lothian

Simon McCreery, Yester Farm Dairies Ltd, Gifford, East Lothian

Background

Yester Farm Dairies Limited, near Haddington, East Lothian is a family business owned and managed by Simon and Jackie McCreery. The dairy business is operated alongside the family farm, Yester Mains. The McCreery family, originally from Ulster, bought the farm in 1992 and Yester Farm Dairies starting trading in 2003.

They currently milk around 300 Holsten Fresians. As well as dairy farming they also grow barley and wheat.

Challenges

  • In the last 10 years, Scotland’s dairy industry has shrunk by almost a third as the returns from milking cattle twice a day for 365 days a year have increasingly ceased to offer profitability.
  • Managing your own marketing and sales.
  • As a food business there is a whole raft of environmental health regulation to get to know and work within.

What can be done?

Originally, the McCreerys were selling their milk to Wiseman Dairies, but younger son, Simon and his wife Jackie, eventually decided to market under their own name.

Now they supply own-brand milk and cream to local restaurants, shops hotels and residential households in the Lothians and Borders.

By pasturising and bottling milk on-site, they have reduced transport costs which helps make a premium on each litre. They are also able to offer a fully traceable product direct from the farm to the consumer.

The McCreerys secured Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) funding to build additional cattle housing to enable them to expand the herd and increase the output at the dairy. Currently the farm produces close to 2.4 million litres per year, but the dairy is having to buy in a further six hundred thousand litres to meet the demand. By extending the cattle housing, they are better equipped to keep up with demand independently. Simon was also fortunate enough to secure funding under the former processing and marketing scheme to install the pasteurisation plant and cold storage facilities.

Taking the lead

A local company, which concentrates on the local market (all produce is sold within 50 miles of the farm) – contributing in terms of the local people they employ and the custom they bring to other local businesses.
 

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