Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jersey's fragile dairy business 1763 - 2011

During the 1950’s there were over 1,000 dairy herds in Jersey. Now there are just 26 or so. That sort of change is dramatic but the general public knows very little about this farming business activity or how it is so economically fragile today.

Yet, the general public demands that Jersey must retain its “green fields” and that there should be pretty Jersey cows grazing in them – almost without any understanding of the harsh economic realities. There is still a nostalgic view  that farming might be much as it was in the 1950s.

Producing milk is one thing but what is the real cost? Not just of the milk itself but the cost of denying the land use to others with equal or even better claims?

If Jersey is to retain the “green countryside” – who shall pay for it? Can the “cultural icon” of the Jersey cow be preserved with public subsidies in the future or can dairying be self-supporting?

Here Jersey dairy farmer Paul Houzé speaks frankly in a three part interview about the past, present and future of dairy farming in this Island.

He is optimistic that the Jersey cow has a future although his own likely retirement is referred to among many other issues.

Vegetarian and Soya milk user Tom Gruchy thanks Paul Houzé for his giving his time and cooperation with this interview and for revealing some of the mysteries of the rural economy.

For some reason, the internal lighting was not to the camcorder’s entire liking or the recording skills were lacking so some images are a bit dark.


  1. A very interesting interview.

    So without the farming subsidy Mr Houze, like presumably colleagues in the industry, would find it a struggle to maintain his dairy herd and business. So he has a very small profit margin from his dairy herd.

    Mr Houze has augmented his profit by introducing beef which is helpful and I enjoyed finding out how they maintained the integrity of the Jersey Dairy Cattle, whilst producing beef, and I am glad to see that. He is in a co-operative, The Jersey Dairy, and if this is doing well provides another area of profit for the members.

    It was great to see that there is also co-operation between arable and dairy farmers. I would like to know if Mr Houze's colleagues also have a degree of arable/dairy co-operation from neighbours in the farming industry.

    Thank you for the information provided in those videos. I always knew dairy farmers worked hard but didn't know much about what went on in the background. I can remember, as a little girl, helping a Mrs Houze make butter on a farm that had the old train coach attached to their farmhouse. They used to grow tomatoes in those days as well. Happy Days!


  2. You may be interested in my own analysis of post-war agriculture to around 2003

  3. Very interesting and helpful video for a townie who knows nothing of agriculture or cows.

    What we see is commercial agriculture using the latest IT and technique. Noteworthy is that youth must be educated to a high standard at agricultural college either in France or the UK. This is a useful antidote to the standard diet of misinformation we get from the Main Stream Media, who will not countenance any objective analysis of issues if there is a hint of doubt or contention, let alone bad news.

    There are none so blind as those that will not see.

  4. have switched from Internet Explorer to Google Chrome.Oh boy its so fast compared to what i was used to. Hopefully it will also allow me to post to certain blogs again......testing:)......and yes its working....absolutely brilliant browser!