Dairy Farmer Pivots from Cow’s Milk to Oat Milk for Ethical Reasons

|Updated Aug 21, 2020
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You may remember Jay Wilde, a farmer featured in the documentary 73 Cows, who retired the cows from his dairy farm and rehomed them at Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk, UK after he decided in 2017 he could not bear to "send the cows to the slaughterhouse for what must be a terrifying death. Wilde originally produced dairy products, then moved to produce organic beef and now, three years later, Wilde is transitioning to produce oat milk, a more sustainable and kinder option to cow's milk.

Refarm'd Helps Transition Dairy Farmers to Produce Oat Milk

Wilde is working with Refarm'd, an organization that helps dairy farmers transition to producing plant-based milk to transform Bradley Nook Farm in Ashbury, UK. According to Refarm'd's website, "By uniting together with farmers and providing them with the tools they need to move away from the dairy trade, we’re offering a viable new opportunity for their businesses to be part of the growing plant-based movement."

"We will assist the ex-dairy farms to sustainably and locally source the ingredients to produce plant-based drinks on their farms. The farmers’ land will be converted into an animal sanctuary for their cattle that are no longer being used for dairy farming."

Helping to Change Farms for the Good

Wilde and his wife Katja were the first farmers to team up with Refarm'd with the help of The Vegan Society. "We spent time finessing our business model so we could ensure producing oat milk was sustainable and profitable – alongside providing us with a cruelty-free source of income. Adding another form of non-animal-based food production to our business with the help of Refarm’d means we have a solid future," Wilde said in a statement to Plant-Based News.

Wilde is complementary of Refarm'd concept chiefly because it doesn’t condemn farmers but allows them to make a living while being able to gradually change their daily routine, the management of their land and their attitude towards animals, farming and themselves."

Switch4Good, a coalition of dairy-free activists, has estimated that 34 ounces, or one liter of cow's milk takes triple the amount of CO2 to produce as oat milk, as well as nearly nine times the amount of land and 13 times the amount of water. Not only is oat milk a more sustainable option for our future, it is a more compassionate option for animals everywhere.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, demand for dairy milk has fallen significantly this year, and Dairy Farmers of America estimated back in April that dairy farmers are dumping 3.7 million gallons of milk per day. Conversely, plant milks have been skyrocketing and outpacing nearly every single other