We received 900 thousand tons of milk from 27,500 dairy farmers. The amount of payments we made to our dairy farmers in 2017 reached 1.2 billion TRY in total.
In order to guarantee the quality of the dairy products we offer consumers, we expect and require the dairy farmers that supply raw milk to us conforming the provisions of the Law no. 5996 on Veterinary Services, Plant Health, Food and Feed as well as the quality, hygiene, animal health and welfare guidelines set out in the FSSC 22000 Food Safety Management System Standard, which we meticulously follow at our own farms.
Our Milk Quality Improvement Teams, consisting of 25 people in total, conduct regular audits at the farms from which we receive milk as well as the milk collection centers and take samples to analyze the milk.
They review the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Food Safety, animal health and welfare and environmental impact issues during the audits and oversee the compliance to the conditions and criteria set out in the Food Law and our Quality Management System.
Once we begin to work with a dairy farmer, we conduct regular checks. In the event that any deficiencies have been detected or any problems related to the quality and hygiene of the milk have arisen, we prepare action plans and closely monitor the developments.
We continuously work for our dairy farmers to reach the raw milk quality standards that we approve through 14 different tests before accepting the milk at our facilities. We inform our dairy farmers about important developments in the field of husbandry, especially about hygiene and quality issues, via weekly text messages.
During audits and visits, our teams provide dairy farmers with information about hygiene, animal feeding, disease control, animal welfare, management of manure in farms and the importance of organomineral fertilizers in increasing the soil's organic elements, and share with them the experience that we have obtained as part of the operations at our own farms. In 2017, we carried out approximately 4,000 audits and visits at the milk collection points.
Dairy Farmer Support Program
Dairy cows are the most important capital of dairy farmers. Feeding is essential for the animals to maintain their health and produce milk at a certain level of quality and yield. In 2017, we began to help our dairy farmers to solve their problems related to animal feeding by establishing our Dairy Farmer Support Officers’ team.
Our Dairy Farmer Support Officers take action upon the request of our dairy farmers or upon an identified feeding problem in the field by our Milk Quality Improvement Teams. Our teams provide feeding management support to the dairy farmers by working on ration solutions and creating feeding schedules per dairy farmer and develop quality processes to improve milk yield and animal welfare in relation to feeding. The teams monitor the implementation of their suggested feeding schedules and solutions in the field and provide technical support and consulting services to the dairy farmers during the implementation phase.
We offer a wide variety of training opportunities to dairy farmers and entrepreneurs in order to contribute to the development of the industry. For more information about this subject, please refer to the "Our Contribution to the Development of Dairy Farming" section.