A group of Kintyre dairy farmers has launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund a community buyout of Campbeltown Creamery, producer of Mull of Kintyre cheddar.
The 29 family-owned farms are aiming to raise £50,000 towards the purchase of both the creamery and the Mull of Kintyre cheddar brand from current owner First Milk.
The Mull of Kintyre Milk Supply Cooperative will fund the deal through a levy from every litre of milk produced, in addition to the external funding currently being sought.
First Milk, a British farmer-owned dairy cooperative, announced plans last year to sell Campbeltown as part of a move away from smaller-scale brands.
The creamery has been producing cheese, using milk from the 29 farms in the area, since 1923 and making Mull of Kintyre cheddar since the 1970s.
The Kintyre farmers’ cooperative is encouraging locals, foodies, customers, businesses and “anyone with a love of cheese” to contribute to the crowdfunding round and support the community buyout.
'The creamery needs us'
Local dairy farmer Thomas Cameron said: “We are currently facing a huge and exciting opportunity with a clear mission – to secure the future of the Campbeltown Creamery for the benefit of the Kintyre community.
“Dairy farms in the area need the creamery in order to thrive and the creamery needs us. Given the challenges of sustaining a vibrant economy in this remote part of Scotland, the role of the dairy sector in Kintyre is fundamental to its success.”
The dairy farming industry in the Kintyre Peninsula and nearby Gigha contributes £3.2 million each year to the local economy and provides 117 jobs directly on-farm, with a further 49 indirectly across Kintyre, according to an economic impact survey carried out on behalf of Scottish Government body Highlands & Islands Enterprise in 2015.
NFU Scotland Milk Committee chairman John Smith, one of the producers suppling milk to the Campbeltown Creamery, said: “This is a bold and inspiring bid from producers in Kintyre to preserve their creamery and to continue making world-famous, award-winning Mull of Kintyre cheddar.
"Dairy farmers in Kintyre have a fantastic story to tell, producing high quality grass-fed milk in a beautiful part of the country. Funders will take the Mull of Kintyre brand to the next level by getting behind a cheese that has real provenance."