Isle of Wight dairy farmers are launching a new strategy in a ‘last ditch’ attempt to secure their future.
The Island's remaining producers and processors are forming a co-operative, selling milk under the brand 'Isle of Wight Dairy Farmers'.
Currently, around 20 percent of milk produced on the Island is processed and sold here - farmers hope the new plan will raise that to around 70 percent.
David Harvey, managing director of Rew Valley Dairies, told Isle of Wight Radio, ‘this is perhaps a last ditch attempt to actually gain something from a true co-operative, for the first time marketing its product locally on behalf of the farmers.
'It's a competitive product, and we can't expect ridiculous returns for the market, but we believe there is a reasonable level of price which the public will support which will keep Island dairy farmers in business and will keep dairy cattle grazing on the Isle of Wight'.
The new strategy, which will be put into action in November, will see more Island milk processed and sold locally as an 'Isle of Wight Dairy Farmers' product.
'We can eliminate the extra costs of sending the raw material away', explains David.
'We hope we can get an economic situation which means that the future is much more secure than it is currently'.
Farmers hope that Islanders will support the new co-operative by buying local.
An Isle of Wight Radio poll showed that 390 of the 808 participants would buy local milk if it was the same price or less.
253 people said they would pay more for Island milk if they had to, while 78 said they already buy milk which has been locally produced.
Almost 3000 people have signed a petition to pledge their support to the I Love Island Milk campaign, which is being backed by the Island’s MP, Andrew Turner.
You can find more details and sign the petition at thewightstuff.org