Hooks hoping to pack a punch at dairy farmers awards

A FARMING father-and-son team passionate about the virtues of raw milk have been nominated for the Farmers Weekly Dairy Farmer of the Year Award.

Phil and Steve Hook from Longleys Farm, Hailsham, will find out if they are winners at an awards ceremony on October 4.

The Hook family, members of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), have been farming in East Sussex for a staggering 250 years.

The farmers run an internet mail order company for the organic raw milk produced from their 65-cow herd.

Phil Hook said: “We are delighted to be nominated for this award.

“Dairy farming has been in drastic decline for many years and as a result we decided a while ago to cut out the middle man and sell direct to our customers.

“The online business is doing well but we also like to meet our customers so we regularly attend local farmers markets such as the Hailsham Farmers Market.”

The dairy herd’s welfare and health is top priority on the farm.

Although organically farmed cows produce nearly 50 per cent less milk than those farmed conventionally, the Hook family believe that the cows benefit from this lower yield and are less prone to mastitis and lameness.

The cows on average live to be nine or ten years old, compared to the national average of six years old. 

Steve Hook said the raw milk was produced in a painstakingly hygienic environment.

He added: “Everything is done to make the cows’ daily life as stress free and happy as possible and this makes my day really enjoyable too.”