A Devon Dairy that pasturises and bottles its own milk and makes ice cream is now Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW).

Taw River Dairy at Sampford Courtenay near Okehampton in Devon, has met the AGW programme standards, which were developed in collaboration with scientists, veterinarians, researchers and farmers across the globe to maximise practicable, high-welfare farm management.

The Certified Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) label verifies that animals are raised outdoors on pasture in accordance with world-renowned welfare standards using sustainable agriculture methods on an independent farm. Recently launched in the UK, AWA is part of the suite of "Certified By" logos offered by respected international certifier A Greener World, along with Certified Grassfed by AGW and Certified Non-GMO by AGW, which are optional, additional accreditations for Certified AWA farms.

Sam and Gemma Bullingham sell their products locally and nationally under the Taw River Dairy brand. Bottled milk is also sold through well-known online retailers, such as Pipers Farm. Taw River Dairy ice cream is also a regular feature at local events and fairs. 

Sam Bullingham established the business in early 2017 with just 10 cows on around 40 acres. Today, the couple manage a herd of 70 pure-bred and Jersey cross cows on pasture, producing around 2,500 litres of milk a week, as well as a small herd of Belted Galloway beef cattle, Exmoor Horn sheep, and Dartmoor ponies for conservation grazing.

Cattle and sheep are raised outdoors on species-rich pasture using rotational management, grazing one area of pasture before being moved to fresh fields. This allows grass to recover before cattle and sheep return to graze again, ensuring the most nutritious grass is available. It also helps to keep the soil naturally fertilised and minimises the build-up of internal parasites, thereby avoiding reliance on chemical treatments.

Sam Bullingham was one of the first dairy farmers in the UK to keep calves with their mothers, to raise dairy cows on a 100 per cent grassfed diet, and to milk year-round.

The dairy cows at Taw River Dairy are also Certified Grassfed by AGW. This grassfed label guarantees a 100 per cent grassfed diet.

Sam Bullingham said: “It’s quite simple: happy, healthy cows produce higher quality, better tasting milk. All our milk is processed on site three times a week and sold locally as either bottled fresh milk or ice cream. The milk is out of the cows and into a shop within two days – you can’t get fresher than that!

“We know it is possible to farm alongside nature, producing high quality food while giving nature space to thrive. And with all the recent negative media coverage about farming’s environmental impact, it’s important that our customers know there is another way. Our A Greener World logo tells our customers that we really are farming the way we say we are.”

A Greener World International Director Wayne Copp said: “Taw River Dairy’s certifications from A Greener World recognise that their high standards of animal welfare and environmental management are not only good for farmed livestock and the planet but helps them to communicate clearly and directly to consumers who are seeking food they can trust and feel good about. What Taw River Dairy has achieved is nothing short of an inspiration for all forward-thinking UK farmers out there. Their ice cream is rather delicious, too!”