Arla Foods has revealed that in order to ensure the continuity of milk collection during the Coronavirus outbreak, it has trained trained its farmer owners to provide a back-up option for milk collection in case drivers are off sick.
Recognising that if if 13% of milk tanker collection drivers went off sick, the dairy co-operative would struggle to fulfil its cooperative obligations to collect all the milk from its 2,400 UK farmer owners, and so it trained 19 dairy farmers and 10 members of its agriculture team to provide a back-up option for its logistics team if needed.
The skillset of in-bound drivers is incredibly specific; as well as collecting the milk from farms, they are responsible for monitoring and testing temperature and quality to ensure food safety during transportation, and so extra training was necessary to ensure quality control of the milk being collected.
The training involved the farmers undergoing video training and practical training with the tanker using social distancing practices. in the event of a tanker driver shortage, the newly trained farmers would be available to follow the tanker by car and manage the milk collection and quality checking aspects at farms in their region.
Speaking about his involvement in the training, Arla’s agriculture director, Graham Wilkinson, said: “If we’re asking our farmers to provide extra support to the business, I also wanted them to feel supported by us too. As the saying goes, you should never ask your team to do anything you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself.
“Being a cooperative is not just a business model. It shapes the way you think, your attitude to those you work with and the decisions you take. Never has our cooperative ethos been so evident in action as it has in these past few months. We are very grateful to all those farmers and colleagues who have stepped up to help support the business and keep the milk moving.”