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Latest Farming News


Thu, 22 Feb 2018 11:09:10 +0000
£90m boost for farm robotics and data

Farmers Weekly

A £90m government agri-tech fund has been launched to help more farmers benefit from robotics, artificial intelligence and data science. The funding – delivered as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund – was announced by business secretary Greg Clark at the NFU conference in Birmingham. It aims to bring together robotics, AI and earth observation technologies to improve supply chain resilience across the agri-food sector. Technology was boosting farmers’ earning power and making agri-businesses more productive and profitable, Mr […]

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Thu, 22 Feb 2018 11:00:18 +0000
New NFU presidential team sets out aims

Farmers Weekly

The NFU has elected Minette Batters as its first female president in the organisation’s 109-year history. Wiltshire beef, sheep and arable farmer Ms Batters held off a challenge from Essex arable farmer Guy Smith, who was promoted to deputy president after two years as vice-president. Hertfordshire farmer Stuart Roberts was elected as vice-president after emerging victorious in a five-way challenge. The new team has already signalled its intent to hit the ground running at a key time for agriculture with […]

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Wed, 21 Feb 2018 17:51:19 +0000
NFU elects first female president

Farmers Weekly

Wiltshire farmer Minette Batters has been elected its first female NFU president in the union’s 109-year history. Ms Batters was elected at a meeting of the union’s ruling council following the NFU’s annual conference in Birmingham on Wednesday (21 February). She succeeds Meurig Raymond and will serve a two-year term as president. Also elected were Essex farmer Guy Smith (deputy president) and Hertfordshire farmer Stuart Roberts (vice-president). See also: Farmers back Minette Batters to become NFU president Ms Batters said: […]

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Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:33:51 +0000
Gove must deliver on pledges, warns NFU

Farmers Weekly

Outgoing NFU president Meurig Raymond has urged farmers to ensure that the government delivers on pledges made by Defra secretary Michael Gove. Mr Raymond issued the plea as he delivered his final speech as NFU president to the union’s annual conference in Birmingham on Wednesday (21 February). It came at the end of the two-day event – which included a keynote address by Mr Gove, setting out a number of promises but little detail on how they might be realised. […]

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Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:00:56 +0000
Hi-vis farmers launch #SeeItChangeIt safety campaign

Farmers Weekly

Farmers donned hi-vis vests to highlight the number of people who suffer a serious accident or illness every year in agriculture. The #SeeItChangeIt campaign encourages cost-effective ways of eliminating safety risks on farms – and aims to tackle stress and mental well-being in agriculture. See also: How a prosthetic leg inspired a farm safety campaign It was launched on Tuesday (20 February) during a safety workshop held at the NFU’s annual conference in Birmingham. Farmers at the workshop wore hi-vis vests […]

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Tue, 20 Feb 2018 10:28:04 +0000
Better animal welfare should be rewarded – Gove

Farmers Weekly

Enhanced animal welfare is among the “public goods” that could be funded under a post-Brexit agricultural policy, believes Defra secretary Michael Gove. The government should support industry-led initiatives that promote higher welfare standards, Mr Gove will tell the NFU’s annual conference on Tuesday (20 February). Peppered with praise for growers and livestock producers, it will be his biggest speech to a farming audience since being appointed last summer. See also: Gove to unveil more plans for post-Brexit agriculture Mr Gove […]

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Tue, 20 Feb 2018 09:37:45 +0000
NFU leader warns against cheap food imports

Farmers Weekly

Farm leader Meurig Raymond has warned the government against “scouring the world” for cheap food imports after the UK leaves the European Union. In his final speech before standing down as NFU president, Mr Raymond will say British farmers and food producers have a vital role to play in the country’s post-Brexit future. See also: Gove to unveil more plans for post-Brexit agriculture British farmers want to be the “first supplier of choice – feeding the national with high-quality food […]

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Tue, 20 Feb 2018 06:38:11 +0000
Half a million pounds swindled in farmland investment scam

Farmers Weekly

A bogus businessman has been handed the maximum 15-year ban from acting as a director of a company after swindling farmland investors out of more than £500,000. Renwick Robert Haddow, 49, misled investors between 2011 and 2014 into believing they were purchasing land in Lithuania and Australia, but no land was purchased and two-thirds of the cash was spent on undisclosed fees. Investors handed over money to his firm, Agri Firma, after being promised returns of 9% of farming income […]

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Tue, 20 Feb 2018 06:00:11 +0000
Tributes to man killed in farm machinery accident

Farmers Weekly

A close-knit farming community in West Yorkshire is mourning the loss of a man who was killed in a farm accident. The man, named locally as Charlie Lovell, died after becoming trapped in farm machinery. Emergency services were called to a smallholding at Back Lane, in Thornton, Bradford, at about 8.45pm on Sunday (18 February). See also: Certification and staff training – all you need to know Mr Lovell, who is understood to have been married with two children, suffered […]

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Mon, 19 Feb 2018 16:16:36 +0000
MPs call for Brexit fund for farmers

Farmers Weekly

MPs have called for a government fund to prepare farmers for Brexit. The recommendation is contained in a report called Brexit: Trade in Food, published by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. It says the government should consider creating a fund to support the UK’s agricultural sector as it adapts to the post-Brexit environment. See also: Analysis – farmers predict income squeeze after Brexit The document also includes calls for an impact analysis on each agricultural sector and warns […]

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Mon, 19 Feb 2018 12:00:01 +0000
Massey tractor and birds stolen from Dorset farm

Farmers Weekly

A tractor, dozens of birds, a tool box and a generator were stolen from a farm in Dorset by a thief who smashed through a padlocked gate. The incident occurred on Saturday 10 February between 11am and 8pm at a farm in Sandford Orcas, near Sherborne. Police said the stolen grey Massey Ferguson tractor was driven straight through a padlocked wooden gate and the vehicle tracks showed it continued along a lane heading towards Marston Magna Road. See also: How […]

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Mon, 19 Feb 2018 11:31:53 +0000
Church offers spires as beacons for rural digital 'not-spots'

Farmers Weekly

Farmers and landowners will be hoping that a new deal between churches and the government will answer their prayers on poor rural connectivity. An agreement between the Church of England and the government will see more mobile and wi-fi antennae fitted to church spires to improve broadband access and telephone coverage in rural areas. Currently, there are more than 120 cases of broadband and mobile services being delivered from parish churches across the country. See also: ‘Rutland is worst place […]

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Mon, 19 Feb 2018 09:14:49 +0000
Scots farmers face heavy losses from Brexit – SRUC

Farmers Weekly

Changes in market prices and agricultural policy are predicted to have a major effect on the structure and resilience of Scottish agriculture after Brexit, according to a new independent report. Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has analysed the potential economic implications of three post-Brexit trade scenarios on four farm types – beef, sheep, dairy and crops. See also: AHDB post-Brexit scenarios analysed As well as looking at the trade implications, the analysts have also considered the effect of removing the Basic Payment Scheme […]

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Mon, 19 Feb 2018 06:10:27 +0000
Budget for Brexit in a brave new world of lower subsidies

Farmers Weekly

In the second part of our series on planning for Brexit, we examine one of the biggest farming operations in the UK and how it is preparing for life outside the European Union. The group, which owns no land, needs to be ultra efficient at growing crops and good at selling them to make a return for itself and the landowner, whether in the EU or outside. In a new farming world where subsidies will be more linked to practices […]

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Mon, 19 Feb 2018 06:00:50 +0000
Gove to unveil more plans for post-Brexit agriculture

Farmers Weekly

Defra secretary Michael Gove is set to put more flesh on the bones of his post-Brexit plans for agriculture during a keynote speech to farmers. Mr Gove will outline his vision for the industry during an address to the NFU annual conference in Birmingham on Tuesday (20 February). With more than 1,000 delegates in attendance, it will be his biggest farming audience since being appointed Defra secretary last summer. See also: Prepare now for post-Brext policy, farmers told This year’s […]

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Sun, 18 Feb 2018 05:00:48 +0000
Opinion: Burns supper still works after all these years

Farmers Weekly

The year has kicked off in the traditional way, with a dose of flu – not the full Australian or Japanese strains, but still completely debilitating. The illness was followed by the traditional “kill or cure” event for convalescents, the cricket club Burns supper. This was one of many Burns night events in Northumberland, reflecting the widespread Scottish heritage here, together with a need for some excuse for a social event in January. See also: Hill farmers could end up as […]

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Sat, 17 Feb 2018 06:05:41 +0000
Farm minister explains purpose of bovine TB review

Farmers Weekly

The government has announced a review of its 25-year strategy to tackle bovine TB in England, which includes culling badgers to curb the disease. Farm minister George Eustice said tackling the disease in wildlife is necessary to control TB in cattle, but “no one wants to be culling badgers forever”. Mr Eustice said the independent review is not a review of the rationale behind the badger cull, but it will help establish what has and hasn’t worked to help inform […]

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Sat, 17 Feb 2018 06:00:02 +0000
Opinion: Let's use the market opportunities of vegetarianism

Farmers Weekly

You’ve probably already heard about January’s Oxford Union debate where environmentalist George Monbiot proposed: “By 2100, meat eating will be a thing of the past.” It attracted plenty of media coverage and raised the blood pressure of a lot of livestock farmers in the process. See also: Footpaths lead to better rural-urban relations, says Naylor  I‘m on the council of the Oxford Farming Conference and have to confess that it was me who suggested this topic. When I put the idea […]

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Fri, 16 Feb 2018 13:45:04 +0000
Defra launches review of bovine TB strategy

Farmers Weekly

Defra has announced plans to review the bovine TB strategy to ensure progress continues towards the target of being free of the disease by 2038. Environment secretary Michael Gove and farm minister George Eustice have said now is a good time to review progress and identify steps to accelerate elements of the strategy that might be deployed in later phases. Though the government has not specifically mentioned reviewing the badger cull, Mr Eustice acknowledged it was a key part of […]

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Fri, 16 Feb 2018 10:50:37 +0000
Calls for England to adopt Welsh councils' sky lantern ban

Farmers Weekly

The RSPCA has called for councils in England to follow the Welsh example and ban the use of sky lanterns on their land. Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council became the final local authority in Wales to ban the release of sky lanterns on its land on Wednesday 7 February, following a unanimous vote. It comes into force with immediate effect. The animal charity called the news “a huge success”, having long campaigned for the lanterns to be banned nationwide, but said there is still a […]

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Fri, 16 Feb 2018 06:00:51 +0000
Farmers back Minette Batters to become NFU president

Farmers Weekly

Wiltshire beef producer Minette Batters has the widespread backing of grassroots farmers in her bid to become the first female NFU president in the union’s 109-year history. Some 68% of respondents to a Farmers Weekly reader survey say Ms Batters is their preferred choice for NFU president. Her sole challenger – Essex farmer Guy Smith – scored 32% in the same poll, conducted in the run-up ahead to next week’s leadership elections. See also: NFU elections 2018 – runners and […]

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Fri, 16 Feb 2018 06:00:28 +0000
NFU Scotland forges closer ties with Norwegian farmers

Farmers Weekly

Industry leaders believe Scottish farmers and crofters can learn valuable lessons from their counterparts in Norway as the UK prepares to leave the EU. Preparing Scottish growers and livestock producers for post-Brexit change was the theme running through NFU Scotland’s two-day AGM and annual conference in Glasgow on 8-9 February. In terms of future trading arrangements with the EU for Scotland and the UK, much has been made of the “Norwegian model”. With this in mind, NFU Scotland is forging […]

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Thu, 15 Feb 2018 14:12:19 +0000
Podcast: Is NFU about to elect first female president?

Farmers Weekly

The NFU is about to elect a new leadership team, following a decision by Meurig Raymond to stand down after four years as union president. In this special podcast, we take an in-depth look at the NFU leadership race and how it works – and have a peek of some of the candidates standing for election. They include Wiltshire farmer Minette Batters – who could become the NFU’s first female president since the union was founded in 1909.  

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Thu, 15 Feb 2018 08:26:51 +0000
Raiders brutally slaughter calf and sheep for meat

Farmers Weekly

Raiders broke into a farm shed and brutally slaughtered a young calf and sheep, possibly to sell on their meat. West Mercia Police is appealing for information on the attack, which happened sometime between 9pm on Saturday 11 February and 8am on Tuesday 13 February. Officers said the burglary took place at a farm in Redhill Lane, Rubery, on the outskirts of Birmingham. See also: 9 tips to combat farm thefts during darker nights A Hereford heifer calf was taken […]

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Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:10:33 +0000
New 4G antenna could be solution for slow internet

Farmers Weekly

A 4G antenna and router could be the solution for people in rural areas struggling with their poor internet speed. Telecoms company EE launched the combined system as a home broadband solution on Friday (9 February) after a trial across rural Cumbria provided people accustomed to 1Mbps speeds with 100Mbps. The new technology is said to be ideally suited to sparsely populated areas with limited or no access to fixed-line services and has been designed with rural communities in mind. […]

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Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:00:03 +0000
TB cattle slaughterings break 40,000 barrier

Farmers Weekly

The number of TB-infected cattle slaughtered in Britain last year breached the 40,000 barrier, according to new statistics from Defra. The figures, released on Wednesday (14 February), recorded 43,590 animals were killed in England, Wales and Scotland between November 2016 and 2017, up nearly 10% from the previous year. See also: Analysis: Is the badger cull in England working? New herd incidents increased to 3,878 in England, 3,326 of which were in the high risk area. Incidents went up by […]

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