28/09/10 - On-farm safety, farm charity survival, seaweed farming
In recent weeks five people have lost their lives in accidents on British farms: two members of the public and three people working. It brings the total of on-farm deaths since the start of April to 26, versus a total of 21 deaths for the whole of last year. Charlotte Smith talks to Stephanie Berkeley, manager of the Farm Safety Foundation, about what’s going wrong. Coronavirus restrictions have left a big hole in the finances of many agricultural organisations - not least charities. Jamie's Farm helps vulnerable young people, with five farms offering visits and longer stays across England and Wales. This year 2,000 children were due to visit, but lockdown put a stop to that. Rebecca Rooney's been to the charity's headquarters in Box, near Bath, to find out how things are going. And Charlotte kicks of a week-long focus on seaweeds, speaking to Professor Michele Stanley from the Scottish Association for Marine Science about the current scale and future scope of commercial seaweed farming in the UK. Produced in Bristol for BBC Audio by Lucy Taylor.
26/09/20 Farming Today This Week: delays at Dover and impact on food exports, chicken welfare, agricultural education
We hear about the impact of possible delays at Dover on food exports once the Brexit transition period ends in January. Fifty scientists and animal welfare activists have written to Tesco’s Chief Executive, urging him to commit to selling only chicken from slower-growing birds by 2026. The entire cockle fishing fleet in Boston, Lincolnshire is tied-up after government regulators decided that enough shellfish had already been caught this year. The town’s shell-fishermen were told to stop work, in order to leave food for seabirds. As thousands of students return to agricultural courses from agronomy to equine, we ask how are they and their lecturers coping with a new kind of learning. Presented by Charlotte Smith and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
25/09/20 - Seasonal workers, agricultural T-Levels, the Sustainable Farming Incentive and curlews
Companies recruiting people from Eastern Europe to work on British farms are warning they won’t be recruiting next year. The move could leave hundreds of farmers without pickers. British farmers use about 70,000 seasonal workers. EU freedom of movement ends at the beginning of next year - the government’s pilot Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme currently allows 10,000 agricultural workers from outside the EU - but that ends in March. We get a sneak preview of the new T-Level in farming - it's for students who've done their GCSE's and want to go on to study vocationally. T-levels are mostly classroom based, take 2 years to do, and are worth the same as 3 A-Levels. What is the SFI? It's the Sustainable Farming Incentive and it's being considered by DEFRA to act as a stepping stone between the EU's Common Agricultural Policy and the new Environmental Land Management Schemes. Details should be announced in the next few months. And some cheering news. Five curlew chicks saved from a wild fire in Northern Ireland have been released into the wild. Presented by Charlotte Smith Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons
24/09/20 - Lorry queues at Dover, farming apprenticeships, food waste and the Agriculture Bill
As the Government warns there could be two day delays for lorries leaving Dover next year, we hear how one lamb exporter is preparing. Farmers First is a farmer owned co-operative which slaughters and butchers 10% of the UK’s lambs and exports about 70% of them. The majority of people who work in the farming industry have grown up on the land or have some link to agriculture, and it can be difficult for people without those connections who're interested in farming to get experience. In Scotland the Ringlink labour and machinery ring runs a pre-apprenticeship scheme. It’s offering people from diverse backgrounds the chance to work under the supervision of mentors. The uk is the only country in the world to have reduced food waste by 25% since 2007. A report out today from the World Resources Institute says generally the world is ‘woefully behind’ on efforts to cut food waste by half by 2030, but that the UK is halfway there. And, as the Agriculture Bill passes through the House of Lords, amendments have been approved that would prevent future trade deals allowing the import of food produced to lower animal welfare standards...and ban the use of pesticides near homes and public buildings or spaces. Presented by Charlotte Smith Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons
23/09/20 - Agricultural colleges during COVID, DEFRA's Brexit preparations, rural services and cockle fishing
Boris Johnson has announced new restrictions across England, to try to stem the increase in the number of Covid case, but schools and colleges remain open. As thousands of students return to agricultural colleges across the country, how are they and their lecturers coping with a new kind of learning...online? At Wiltshire College, Lackham, agricultural diplomas are being taught through a combination of online tutorials and in-person lessons -we join a group of students. We get the low down on DEFRA's latest preparations for Brexit after the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee grill George Eustice. Thirteen rural groups are calling on the government to give more equal funding to rural services, to ‘level them up’ to urban provision, in the light of the Covid pandemic. A report published by the Rural Coalition says countryside communities have long faced the challenges of “sparsity, remoteness, poor connectivity and a history of unequal funding and patchy service delivery”. It says some communities which are heavily dependent on tourism and seasonal work are now at risk of being left further behind. And a row has broken out in Boston in Lincolnshire after the town’s Shellfishermen were told to stop work, in order to leave food for seabirds. The entire cockle fishing fleet is tied-up after government regulators decided that enough shellfish had already been caught this year. The Lincolnshire Wash is a protected site for seabirds which are allocated a proportion of the cockle beds to feed on. Presented by Anna Hill Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons
22/09/20 - Chicken welfare, Scottish land sales, Agricultural college finances
Fast-growing chickens are the standard birds used in the UK - slower growing breeds take longer to rear and end up costing around 20% more to produce. But scientists and animal welfare campaigners want supermarkets to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment, which would mean only slower growing birds are used. We find out what the differences are and how it impacts on welfare. There's a growing conversation in Scotland about who should own the countryside. The Duke of Buccleuch owns more than 200,000 acres in the South of Scotland, but three major buyouts are currently in progress. We visit Newcastleton, where the community trust has recently bought 750 acres from the Buccleuch's Borders Estate... and hear more about the ongoing talks with community groups in Langholm and Wanlockhead. Our focus on Agricultural colleges looks at finances. As with most further education institutions, they’ve faced financial constraints over the last decade. In East Anglia, Easton College near Norwich and Otley College near Ipswich, merged several years ago, because of financial pressures. The plan didn’t work and last December the colleges went their separate ways - we find out why. And the slug killing chemical, metaldehyde, is to be banned for outdoor use from the end of March 2022 in England, Wales and Scotland. A decision will be taken by the Northern Ireland Executive shortly. Presented by Anna Hill Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons
- 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.