Sark milk production is close to restarting

SARK’S new dairy farmers, Jason and Katharine Salisbury, will be welcoming their first cows to the farm tomorrow.

Carol Allett is retiring from full-time farming after 50 years and her herd of 14 cows is going to Sark to restart milk production there. Pictured with her are Roy Le Poidevin, left, and Ben Le Page. (Picture by Cassidy Jones, 29834197)
Carol Allett is retiring from full-time farming after 50 years and her herd of 14 cows is going to Sark to restart milk production there. Pictured with her are Roy Le Poidevin, left, and Ben Le Page. (Picture by Cassidy Jones, 29834197)

Guernsey’s only independent female farmer, Carol Allett, is retiring after 50 years of farming and handing over the responsibility for a herd of 14 cows.

The animals are being transported in small groups from Guernsey to Sark and production of milk in Sark is planned to begin again, after a long break, this week or next.

‘They’re a really interested and dedicated couple. I have no worries about handing over the animals,’ said Mrs Allett.

‘I think it will also be appealing to children visiting Sark who want to go and look at the cows.’

Mrs Allett inherited her farm from her late husband and it has been in the family for 90 years.

‘It is very difficult to get into farming these days. You need a certain amount of cows to make a living. It is easier if you have a long line of farmers,’ she said. ‘There are still lots of women who farm on the island, but they will have help from husbands and partners.’

Mrs Allett will still keep hens, steers, heifers and calves on her farm after retirement.

‘I just won’t be milking the cows anymore,’ she said.

Mr Salisbury has been farming for 35 years and has been taking care of Guernsey cows since 2004.

The Salisburys were selected by Sark from a field of some 80 candidates from across the world to take over the island’s dairy farm.

‘We’ve got a great track record and the vision we had was very similar to that of the Sark people,’ said Mr Salisbury.

‘We’re so grateful to Carol for giving us responsibility of the cows. I think she’s keen to promote the Guernsey cow, but also to put their stamp on the Sark Dairy.’

Regulations are in place to keep animals safe and healthy.

‘We like to speak to people and let them know what’s going on. It’s important to be open about the farm to ensure people of the conditions our cows are being kept in. We have lots of bedding, insulation and extra light for them.

‘We have gone above and beyond what the GSPCA required us to do. We wanted to make sure we made the farm better than we could ever dream of, and we have,’ said Mr Salisbury.

The farmers, who have moved to the island from Suffolk, are hoping to welcome visitors to the farm as soon as they are ready.

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