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Latest agricultural and business news from Agri Assist and beyond

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Farming Today

  • 20/05/19 - Growing crops in foam, threat to bees, farming and water

    Researchers at the University of Sheffield say crops planted in polyurethane foams in polytunnels grow between two and ten times faster than plants grown in soil. Harry Wright tells Charlotte Smith that they've been trialling growing some crops and green leaves. and that it may be commercially available soon. On World Bee Day new figures from a WWF/Buglife study suggest some species are on the brink of extinction. Fanny Calder tells Charlotte what needs to be done to arrest this pattern. All this week Farming Today is looking at water and farming. The Environment Agency has downgraded irrigation prospects in the East of the country to "Poor", and Nicola Dunn from the Agricultural and Horticulture Development Board says that there are a range of measures farmers can take to conserve and harness water for their crops. Producer: Toby Field

  • The Future of UK Food and Farming Policy

    It's a hugely significant moment for agricultural policy in the UK. The Common Agricultural Policy - which has governed our farmers for decades - is going through major reform. Meanwhile, Brexit brings with it the chance to write our own fishing, farming and environmental policy. And farming policy is something that impacts on everyone - from what we eat, to how our countryside looks. In this programme, Charlotte Smith explores the different directions the UK's food and farming policy could take with a panel of guests: - Patrick Holden, organic farmer and founding director of The Sustainable Food Trust - Emily Norton, Nuffield Scholar writing a report on UK farm policy - David Baldock, Senior Fellow at the Institute of European Environmental Policy Presented by Charlotte Smith Produced by Heather Simons

  • 17/05/19: EU support for Irish beef farmers, EU elections, oil seed rape for warmer winters

    Irish beef farmers are to receive 100m Euros from the EU and Irish government to compensate them for 'market disturbance' because of the Brexit uncertainty. Anna Hill asks Joe Healy, President of the Irish Farmers Association, why they need the funding. But Director of the National Beef Association Chris Mallon tells Anna that the UK beef industry will suffer as a result without a similar intervention by the UK Government. It's the turn of Change UK, Plaid Cymru and the SNP to play Farming Today's EU election game 'Keep, Amend, Scrap'. A full list of all the parties fielding candidates in the European Elections can be found on the BBC website. Anna's also been to meet Professor Steven Penfield at the John Innes Centre who has started work searching out the genes to develop new varieties of oilseed rape, which could cope better with warmer winters. Producer: Toby Field

  • 16/05/19: The cost of shooting licences, commoners in the New Forest, pig tracking

    Gun licences are staying the same price this year - the Home Office says fees won't be changed because of delays with a new online licensing system. Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Shooting and Conservation tells Sybil Ruscoe why he thinks it's the right decision. The Commoners Defence Association are accusing Forestry England of privatising the New Forest National Park by stealth. Tony Hockley from the Association tells Sybil that it will price Commoners out of the forest, and with it will go a time-honoured way of rural life. Our Farming Today EU Election game show has been dividing listeners - some want to keep it, some it scrapped - but here it is again, and today it's the turn of the Liberal Democrats and UKIP. A full list of all the parties contesting the European Elections can be found on the BBC Website. Howard Shannon's been finding out about pig tracking which is a project to improve the traceability of pork. Producer: Toby Field

  • Reaction to another Roundup ruling on cancer

    The chemical company Bayer CropScience is to appeal against a decision by an American court which ordered Bayer to pay more than $2 billion in damages, after a jury found the company’s Roundup weedkiller caused a couple’s cancer. We hear from Bayer who say they're confident that the science shows that the weedkiller is safe, and from Pesticide Action Network who want it banned. And more of our coverage of the upcoming European elections. Playing our EU Elections game show today: Labour and the Brexit Party. Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

  • 14/05/19: Food waste on farm, EU elections, Natural flood defences

    The Government has launched a new strategy to halve food waste by 2030 but as farmer Guy Poskitt tells Anna Hill it's consumer attitudes that need to change to properly address the problem. The EU elections are taking place on Thu 23rd May so this week we're asking all the major parties about which fishing and agriculture EU polices they support, and which they'd like to see the back of. Today we start with Conservative's Robert Goodwill and the Green Party's Molly Scott Cato who play 'Keep, Amend or Scrap'. A full list of all the parties fielding candidates in the European Elections can be found on the BBC website. Lisa Batey from The Wildlife Trusts says the UK Marine Strategy is failing and what the impact of this might be. Herefordshire is one of the areas chosen to receive Government funding to install natural flood defences, and Toby Field's been to meet farmer Matt Duggan who has been experimenting with leaky dams. Producer: Toby Field

Agri Assist

  • In the know: Our summary of the impending changes to direct support that Brexit will bring.
  • In the know​​​​​​​: The Government announces that levels of farm debt are rising. Some fare better than others.
  • In the know​​​​​​​: Feed-in Tariff to close.
  • In the know​​​​​​​: Read our summary of the recent case of Moore v Moore that is another cautionary tale about proprietary estoppel.
  • In the know​​​​​​​: Read our summary of the recent case of Wild v Wild, which concerns whether or not an asset is owned by a partnership or an individual partner.
  • In the know​​​​​​​: The law regarding plant nurseries and national non-domestic rates is clarified.
  • In the know​​​​​​​: Read our summary of the recent case of Gee v Gee, concerning proprietary estoppel.
  • Agri Assist launches In the know​​​​​​​ to keep those working in the rural sector up to date with the latest cases and relevant issues.
  • ... as is! Our new sister website aimed at helping farms and rural businesses is here at
  • Agri Assist is born. We are delighted to launch our site dedicated to helping rural businesses in financial difficulty.