And the winner is — Sark Island finds a farmer

An English dairy farmer and his family have been chosen to be the new dairy farmers on the island of Sark, located just off the northwest coast of France.

A global hunt for a new dairy farmer was launched earlier this year because the resident dairy farmer was retiring and the island’s 500 residents plus thousands of annual visitors needed a new supply of fresh milk and cream.

Interest in taking up the post came from as far away as the United States, Cyprus and New Zealand to more locally from the Isle of Lewis off Scotland.

The adventurous farmer taking up the post is Jason Salisbury and his wife, Katharine, who currently run a herd of pedigree Guernsey cows on Whitegate Farm near Suffolk.

The couple and their children have a wealth of experience in producing dairy products because they already make their own award-winning Suffolk cheeses from their Guernsey cow milk.

The existing dairy farm on Sark needed extensive modernization so plans are afoot to construct a new state of the art dairy on the island.

Sark Island is an island in the English Channel measuring only 5.6 kilometres long and 2.4 km wide. It relies on tourism and agriculture to support its economy. It has no cars, no paved roads, no street lighting and almost no pollution but does attract more than 50,000 visitors each year fed by a number of eateries that need milk.

The new dairy is expected to be operational by early 2021. Initial plans are to start the groundwork this autumn.

The Salisburys sell their milk through a vending machine on their Suffolk farm. | Salisbury family photo

The new dairy will include an educational section where visitors can learn about milk production.

The newly formed Sark Community Dairy Trust has been set up and 40 acres of land have been donated by the island’s Seigneur Christopher Beaumont on which to build the new dairy.

The trust will fund and own the dairy and lease it to the new farmers, who will operate it as tenants.

“We will continue to manage our Suffolk farm and cheese making enterprise from Sark and have hired a farm manager from Northern Ireland to look after the daily running of the farm and the existing staff and customers,” said Katharine.

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