The Ross Family

Lawns Farm, A.E. Ross and Sons, South Yorkshire

Facing pressures to their dairy business following the milk price crash in 2014, and fearing the farm would not survive without much needed change, the Ross family pooled their skills and diversified to protect their future.

The 81 ha (200 acres) Lawns Farm in South Yorkshire is home to an 80-strong herd of Holstein Friesian cows which are block calved in spring and autumn.

Currently three of the four Ross brothers, George, Chris and Anthony work full time on the family farm with fourth brother, Laurence on-hand to help at any time. Their father, David also helps with tractor work and provides advice to the brothers.

In 2014 the family made the decision to sell their milk directly to the customer, cutting out the middleman. They invested in a dairy and bottling plant and George visited other farms already doing the same and learnt how to pasteurise and bottle milk. The milk round was publicised mainly through word of mouth and now supplies over 400 customers.

Future proofing

As well as changing the outlet for their milk, the family also opened a small farm shop with Anthony in charge of the day-to-day management. He trained as a butcher and has gone on to win several awards for his pies and sausages. The family’s small herd of Longhorn cows and traditional British Lop and Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs provide meat to the farm shop.

The family also host several events on the farm including the very popular Farm Fest, a music festival, which will take place for the sixth year later this year and has so far sold 1,500 tickets.

In the future they are looking to develop their diversifications further with the addition of a café and are hoping to open up the farm for school visits.