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Somerset farmers forced out of business after council sells land

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A family near Ilminster in Somerset say they're facing a distressing and difficult time as they prepare to sell off their herd of 300 dairy cattle.

Sue and David Osborne hoped it wouldn't come to this but Somerset County Council is selling the farm on which they are tenants, to raise funds to ease its own financial problems.

For the Osborne family it's the end of an era after many years producing our morning pint of milk.

"We're not going out of choice. We're going because we have a very unsympathetic, ruthless and lacking compassion landlord in the County Council", Sue said.

"We're now seeing, I think, the next silent exodus of family dairy farms and I think by this time next year I think you're going to be looking at a different industry and that's got huge implications for the West Country."

Credit: ITV News West Country

Since 2010, Somerset County Council has sold off 30 farms, generating nearly £35 million. It was controversial decision but the council says these farms are surplus to its requirements.

In a statement, the council said money was needed to build new schools for the county.

"We have no statutory obligation to provide County Farms and, as with any properties that we sell, the money generated is used to fund valuable and much needed capital projects that benefit the entire County such as the building of new schools."

Credit: ITV News West Country

They've known this was coming and the Osborne's have managed to buy the cottage which neighbours the farm so they won't be homeless but they can't afford the £1 million price tag for the farm itself.

This is the end for their business, the end of another dairy herd, a moment of great sadness after many years of hard work.