12/12/19: Bird flu, Dark sky park, Forest bathing, Forage Aid
A new outbreak of avian flu has been identified on a farm in Suffolk. As a result, 27,000 chickens have had to be culled. It's not yet known how serious the outbreak is, or how far the virus might spread. Charlotte Smith talks to an expert from Lincoln University. Six years ago this month, part of Northumberland’s sky became the largest area of protected night sky in Europe. Northumberland International Dark Sky Park covers 579 square miles, and a new report suggests that, as well as reducing light pollution, the lighting controls in place in the park may also be helping the economy. We find out why. 'Forest bathing' is a new trend, originally developed in Japan but now happening in the UK. The idea is that you immerse yourself in a forest, with research showing that it could reduce blood pressure, lower stress levels and improve concentration. Sally Challoner tries it out in the Forest of Dean. And continuing a week-long look at the relationship between the weather and agriculture, we hear from Forage Aid - a charity set up four years ago to help farmers who are short of animal feed and bedding because of severe weather. Presented by Charlotte Smith Produced by Emma Campbell
11/12/19 Green lanes, insect farms, wet weather
Allowing vehicles to travel across two unmade roads through the Lake District is causing consternation for walkers. But the lanes in Little Langdale are designated as unsurfaced county roads and by law, vehicles are allowed along them. The Lake District National Park Authority has refused to stop the vehicles with a traffic regulation order, because their evidence isn't clear enough to warrant that. We visit one of the biggest insect farms in the UK in Cambridgeshire. Arable farmer David Lemon farms near Marlborough in Wiltshire. The recent wet weather means his planting is months late, and he's anticipating next year's yields will be down by a fifth. Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
10/12/19 New report finds shoppers don't believe the labelling on their food
A new survey into food labelling has found shoppers are wary of claims on labels. They expect supermarkets to ethically source their food products, and restaurants to know the precise ingredients of all their food on offer. As part of our week looking at the weather, we catch up with Lincolnshire pea farmer Stephen Francis, to hear how the summer floods are still affecting him now. Anna Hill visits the Earlham Institute in Norwich where scientists are gene mapping wild flowers, to find out which genes govern the creation of molecules with medicinal potential. Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton
09/12/19: Wet weather farming, Oats, Inclusivity in the countryside
James Peck from the National Farmers Union tells Charlotte Smith what impact the wet weather has had on farmers in the East of England. The unprecedented rainfall has in some cases made it too wet for farmers to get onto their land and either harvest existing crops or plant new ones. But he says it's not all bad news and it's still too early to know whether it will affect the supply of vegetables for Christmas lunch. This year has seen 20% more oats being produced than last, and so Charlotte asks David Eudall from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board whether this means lower prices or greater opportunity for export or supply into the oat milk market. Dr Sheree Mack is coordinating a project to encourage more people from the BAME communities to visit the countryside, and Jo Lonsdale joined her as she took group of girls up Steel Rig, one of the most famous stretches of Hadrian's Wall. Presenter: Charlotte Smith Producer: Toby Field
Our expert panel interrogate the manifestos from the major political parties and discuss the promises made on rural issues from tree planting to bus services. They include: -On the environment: Dr Viviane Gravey from Queen’s University Belfast -On farming: Caroline Drummond from LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) -On rural services: Professor Mark Shucksmith from Newcastle University Presented by Charlotte Smith Produced by Heather Simons
06/12/19: Bovine TB, Northern Ireland manifestos, Fishing manifestos
Dr Iain McGill tells Charlotte Smith that analysis of government data shows that the policy of culling badgers to control Bovine TB is not working. Conor Macauley sets out what positions the political parties in Northern Ireland are adopting on farming in the upcoming General Election. Dr Bryce Stewart from the University of York is on-hand to round-up the promises being made on fishing by the major political parties. Presenter: Charlotte Smith Producer: Toby Field
- 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 helpmyfarm.co.uk! Our new sister website aimed at helping farms and rural businesses is here at helpmyfarm.co.uk.
- Agri Assist is born. We are delighted to launch our site dedicated to helping rural businesses in financial difficulty.