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16.02.06
Investment leads to quadrupled production at Cornish farm

Bill Clark of Trewithen DairyA Cornish dairy farm has secured a major contract supplying natural yoghurt to the Asian food market in London after support from Business Link Devon and Cornwall helped it quadruple production levels.

Trewithen Cornish Farm Dairy, based at Lostwithiel has received investment to adapt existing dairy buildings and invest in new equipment, enabling it to increase the scale of production to 1,200 kilos of yoghurt per week.

Both from farming backgrounds, Bill Clarke and his wife Rachel have been processing milk at the farm since 1993 and Trewithen is well known in the area for its milk and clotted cream production. The couple have also been making natural yoghurt and supplying various outlets in London for some years but the new contract demanded a huge increase in scale. Bill said: "The grant funding went towards essential equipment for processing the yoghurt – batch pasteurisers, fermentation vessels and pumping, cooling and packing equipment. Business Link also helped to finance some specialist consultants and we wouldn't have been where we are now without that help. In particular it was important to get the right advice about handling the product and managing the new equipment. Automation is great, but it can lead to a number of pitfalls – there are the issues of operation, hygiene and maintenance to be considered and of course, critically, in this process - temperature. It's always a steep learning curve in farming and processing, but we've learnt a terrific amount and are looking to develop further."

The farm uses fresh locally sourced milk in the production of its clotted cream, a by-product of which is skimmed milk. This creates the yoghurt which is produced specifically to meet the Asian food market's needs. The contract has also benefited other local farmers, as when Bill's own dairy herd cannot meet demand, Trewithen pays premium prices for milk sourced from local producers.

Graham Woolcock, manager of Business Link Devon and Cornwall's Food and Drink Programme said: "Trewithen is really looking ahead. From the milk production, they have created two by-products of added value. And in addition to securing the recent contract, Bill and Rachel are also looking into new markets for their yoghurt throughout the country and planning to develop new organic products. As the commodity value of raw milk falls, many producers are finding the investment in value added products crucial to their business' success. Through investment and some specialist help and advice, Trewithen Cornish Farm Dairy now has a range of quality products which they can use to further develop the business in the future."

For further information please contact Maxine McAdams of the Marketing-PR Company on 01566 771860 or email: lmcgowan@marketing-pr.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Business Link Devon and Cornwall, Cornwall Food and Drink Programme through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

Anyone considering a new horticulture, food and land based industries project is advised to speak with Maria Ford, at Government Office South West - 01752 635015 - before commencing development as there are now only limited funds available due to the successful uptake of funding by the agricultural sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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Editor's notes:

Business Link provides a free information and enquiry service via an information gateway on the web www.bldc.co.uk and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and those considering starting a business. Additionally It provides impartial business advice and support through a network of partner organisations, which it co-ordinates, and a register of independent business practitioners. Business Link for Devon and Cornwall delivers the national Business Link service to the region under contract from the South West RDA.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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