Tag Archives: DEFRA

Government commit £millions to new woodlands

The Government is to invest £30m to plant 4 million new trees as they look to create 2000 hectares   Screen shot 2014-01-14 at 15.20.25of new woodlands and place 200,000 ha into protected status.

The move will support existing landowners in their forestry work, and will create jobs and provide growth support for the forestry industry in the UK which already contributes  around £230 million GVA ( figure from 2010, an increase of 52% since 2008)

More can be found on Defra’s pages here

You can also read the WoodlandTrust’s response to the plans on their website,  here

Farmers Face 52% Income Loss

Farmers affected by the poor weather and the squeeze by on farmgate prices, could face a huge drop in income this coming year, reports Farmers Weekly, quoting DEFRA research.

The figures make sobering reading and surely must be a catalyst for change – how can any business be expected to continue to produce at no profit? The wider public must surely look beyond cheap food, and supermarkets must look at a fairer profit distribution.                                                              Wet_farmland_

Commenting on the research, NFU chief economist Phil Bicknell, said:

“Wheat yield and quality were hit by the weather, while it’s been well documented that rising costs outstripped farmgate price changes for dairy and pork producers at times during the past year. More recently, we can add the plummeting lamb price to the list of challenges the industry faces.

“The weather caused chaos across the board and has laid bare the importance of CAP payments. With profits squeezed, a larger number of farmers will again be forced to rely on CAP’s direct payments to underpin their business in the year ahead.

“Falling farm income data shatters the myth that high commodity prices would mean high profits. Farmers cannot produce at little or no profit indefinitely; they need to turn a profit and they need to re-invest. The reality is that price volatility, low profitability and falling confidence does not provide a secure framework for a sustainable food industry. These figures should be a wake-up call for us all. Managing risk and volatility are key and that must be recognised by both the government in its CAP negotiations and in pricing decisions taken by the food chain.”

Farmers facing hardship may contact the Rural Stress Helpline or the The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) who can offer advice and assistance.

The Farming Weekly article is here.

DEFRA budget cut by 33% in Spending Review

DEFRA, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is to have its budget cut by up to 33% in the Comprehensive Spending Review:

Defra will reprioritise its spending, focusing tax payer’s money on British farming and food production; enhancing the environment and biodiversity; and supporting a green economy resilient to climate change.

The Department will manage its reductions by:

Maximising the use of matched European funding for the Rural Development Programme for England, enabling a £66m reduction in domestic contributions. This will allow environmental stewardship schemes to remain open to all farmers. Defra will prioritise schemes that will be most beneficial to the environment, increasing the  Higher Level Stewardship Scheme by 80%.

Here is the summary of the comprehensive spending review as applied to DEFRA

Produce more using less, farmers told

DEFRA Secretary Hilary Benn has unveiled a Government blueprint for food policy that will present significant opportunities and challenges for farmers over the next two decades.

Launching the Government’s long-awaited ‘Food 2030’ strategy at the Oxford Farming Conference this morning (Tuesday, January 5), Mr Benn said things can no longer carry on as they are.

The way food is produced, consumed and disposed of will all have to change over the next 20 years in response to a future in which climate change, global demand for food and competition for natural resources all become increasingly important.

Hilary Benn

 Read the full report in Farmers Guardian here

Soil Association response to court of appeal decision in Georgina Downs’ pesticide case

Bateman Refurb 015Peter Melchett, Policy Director at the Soil Association said:


“Whatever the court of appeal says, the fact is UK regulation of pesticide spraying does not take into account the safety of schools or families living next to sprayed fields. These residents are subject to repeated doses of chemical sprays.  Before today’s judgement, the National Farmers Union had admitted that farmers will have to take more care of the wellbeing of their neighbours, whatever the courts decide. The best way farmers can do this is to move to farming systems that don’t require dangerous chemicals to produce our food.”

Read more about the Soil Assocaition here

You can find out more about Georgina Downs here

Cereals 2009


 Cereals  – the leading technical event for the arable industry will be held on 10th & 11th June 2009

Venue – Vine Farm, Wendy, Nr Royston, Cambs,   

Find our more about the show by clicking here

See some of the highlights from last years show. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGGo_GcyBjs]

Open Farm Sunday 2009


Open Farm Sunday

Open Farm Sunday

This years Open Farm Sunday  event will take place on 7th June.

Open Farm Sunday is a fantastic opportunity for everyone, young and old to enjoy the living, vibrant countryside. Take time to listen to the birds, soak up the scenery, experience the smells of the farmyard and really get in touch with the land that feeds us. Discover at first hand what it means to be a farmer and taste the produce.

Each event will be unique with its own activities – based around the host farm’s own individual story. Activities during the day may include a farm walk, nature trail, tractor & trailer rides, pond dipping, activities for kids, mini farmers market or picnics.

If  you would like to visit a farm, find the listings here.

If you are a farmer who would like to get involved, there are several Open Farm Sunday Workshops running, which will tell you more about organsing your event! see here for more

Farming Without Fossil Fuel

 The Final Programme of the current BBC Natural World series,  ‘A Farm for the Future’ airs tonight

 In what’s promising to be a fascinating look into the future of farming, wildlife film maker Rebecca Hosking investigates how to transform her family’s farm in Devon into a low energy farm for the futFarming Without Fossil Fuelsure, and discovers that nature holds the key.

With her father close to retirement, she returned to her family farm in Devon, but last year’s high fuel prices were a wake-up call for Rebecca, with many of her neighbours going bankrupt due to the price hike in everything from tractor diesel, contractors bills, animal feed and fertiliser.

 Realising that all food production in the UK is completely dependent on abundant cheap fossil fuel, particularly oil, she sets out to discover just how secure this oil supply is, and explores ways of farming without using fossil fuel.

The show is aired tonight, 20 Feb 2009 at 20:00 BBC Two (except Wales, Wales (Analogue))   And again 22 Feb 2009 at 17:00 17:00   BBC Two (Wales, Wales (Analogue) only)

See also, the  new study by Chatham House “Food Supply in the 21st Century: The New Dynamic”



First Come, First Served for European Grants

farmers-queue1In Northern Ireland, hundreds of farmers have queued for two days in the hope of receiving European Union farming subsidies,   after their Department of Agriculture and Rural Development decided that this was the fairest way to distribute European Union grants.

As widely reported, the grants, which are aimed at modernising farming practices and equipment, were being allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Since the funding package is worth just £6 million and is capped at £5,000 per application, only 1,200 farmers will benefit.