Sark making good progress on own dairy

SARK Dairy Trust is getting close to reaching its £480,000 goal, which will allow it to progress its own sustainable dairy.

The Salisbury family was selected from more than 80 applicants from all over the world to take over the farm.

They are expected to get to Sark by the end of this month, or early next, with the first milk batch coming in late June or early July.

The trust has raised more than three-quarters of the £480,000 needed to progress the dairy plans.

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Trust chairman and Seigneur of Sark Christopher Beaumont was pleased with how it is going so far.

‘It’s going great and it’s not long now until the farmers get here,’ he said.

‘From the outside of the building you can see it has taken shape and the interior is getting finished too. You can see where the viewing gallery is going to be, which will have the thank you board of those who have donated, and where the milking will be, and although it’s not finished, you can see it’s all coming together rather nicely.’

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The electrics, plumbing, installation of the milking equipment and the interior shell still need work.

Trustee and executive officer Dr Richard Axton said the trust was appreciative of all the fundraising to get it to this point and hoped for more.

‘We’ve had wonderful support and donations from Sark, the Bailiwick, the UK and beyond,’ he said.

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‘There’s more to see every day, things are motoring along and we only started building in November, but we’re keen to receive more donations.’

The Salisburys had intended to visit a number of times but this was affected by the pandemic.

They are now expected to travel to the Bailiwick towards the end of the month, at which point they will self-isolate.

The 12 cows are due to brought over by Sark Shipping in a trailer in batches of three or four.

Once these had arrived, Mr Beaumont hoped the fundraising project would see the benefits.

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‘We’ve got some way to go,’ he said.

‘It might be easier when we’ve got some cows for people to see and milk for people to taste. Once we’ve got a parlour with a vending machine we’ll start milking and selling.

‘It wasn’t that long ago when landowners on the island would have had their own cows to produce milk and butter, in the last hundred years that’s gone, people want to have Sark milk back again.’

Milk production could begin by the end of June.

A grand opening will take place when the farmers have settled in.

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