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Farming Today

  • 17/07/19: Rural domestic abuse, bee disease, insurance for crops, adders

    A report published this morning reveals what it describes as 'the hidden scandal of domestic abuse in rural areas.' The research by the National Rural Crime Network showed that isolation is used as a weapon by abusers; close-knit rural communities facilitate abuse; and the policing response is largely inadequate. The government is urging all beekeepers to register for a national database, to help identify and combat the spread of disease. A new approach to insuring crops against poor harvests due to weather events, is being launched. The system works by looking at the average yield of a crop in a region over several years and if bad weather results in a significant drop in yield, farmers can then claim from the insurance. We're out into the woods in search of one of the UK's fast-disappearing species, the adder. A report published earlier this year by Reading University predicted that the adder could become extinct in the UK within twenty years. Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

  • RSA's Food, Farming and Countryside Commission report, the cost of food without pesticides, 100 years of wheat

    Should all UK farming be putting the environment before food production? Or will that make food too expensive? We hear from Sir Ian Cheshire on the new report from the RSA's Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, which recommends a radical shift in farming practices. Independent economist, Sean Rickard, argues on behalf of the Crop Protection Association, that a family food bill would rise by £786 a year if pesticides and herbicides were not used on farms. And as part of our week-long look at cereals we're talking about 100 years of wheat at The National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB). Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

  • 15/07/19: The future of Natural England, Cereals overview, Sugar Snap Peas for kids

    Natural England has been roundly criticised over its handling of environmental payments, and the suspension of general licences, and now its Chair Tony Juniper tells Charlotte Smith that it doesn't have the money to fight legal actions or even perform some of its core functions. Shaun Spiers from The Green Alliance tells Charlotte that more funding is required if the Government's serious about meeting its environmental targets. It's cereals week on Farming Today and David Eudall from Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board tells Charlotte that farmers are enjoying a far more stable year after last year's turbulent weather, and that more and more farmers are turning to Oats as a replacement crop for Oil Seed Rape. For some school-children in Birmingham their daily fruit intake is being replaced by vegetables including a crop that British farmers have only recently started to grow on a large scale - the Sugar Snap Pea. David Gregory-Kumar went to Worcestershire to help with the Sugar Snap harvest and to find out what the kids thought of this innovative vegetable-based snack. Producer: Toby Field

  • Farming Today This Week: Access to the Countryside

    This programme explores the issue of public access to the countryside. How do you balance the rights of walkers, horseriders and cyclists with the needs of farmers? Charlotte Smith visits a sheep farm near Wantage in Oxfordshire, which is very close to the Ridgeway national trail. She talks to the farm manager about the impact of having a major walking route on the doorstep, attracting thousands of visitors every year. She learns about how environmental schemes have paid subsidies in the past to improve footpath access, and asks whether the proposed new system of 'public money for public goods' post-Brexit could improve access further. We also meet the officer in charge of the Ridgeway trail and the director of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - who explain how the area is managed, and tell Charlotte about the impact all those tyres, hooves and pairs of walking boots have on the land. Producer: Emma Campbell

  • 12/07/19: Beef prices, LEAF schools, Project to increase access of BAME to the countryside

    Beef prices are down - Chris Mallon from the National Beef Association tells Charlotte Smith that on average farmers are getting between £160 to £260 pounds a head less than this time last year and without help the future of British beef production may be bleak. The farming and education group LEAF are taking their practise of demonstration farms into schools to increase awareness of farming and the countryside at an earlier age. Caroline Drummond tells Charlotte why they hope to achieve. For Farming Today's access to the countryside week Charlotte speaks to Zakiya McKenzie who founded the Green and Black initiative which aims to connect with Caribbean and African communities through the common theme of nature. On Your Farm returns to Radio 4 this Sunday with Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owens and she explains why she decided to open her life and the life of her family up to the media spotlight. Producer: Toby Field

  • 11/07/19: Criminal gangs killing sheep, Disabled access to the countryside

    Farmers have reported a big rise in the number of incidents in which sheep have been illegally killed and butchered in the fields by criminal gangs. Charlotte Smith hears from a farmer who found fourteen of his animals had been slaughtered and skinned - with heads, intestines and fleeces left in the field. We also hear from a professor specialising in food crime, who explains why both farmers and consumers are left vulnerable by this crime. Continuing a week-long series looking at access to the countryside, we go out with a group of disabled ramblers in the Cotswolds. Produced by Emma Campbell.

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.