Tag Archives: National Farmers Union

Call for Clearer Cheese Labelling

CheeseSection-624x467Farmers for Action (FFA) is calling on Supermarkets to label their own-brand cheese with Country of Origin, in order to avoid ‘blatant’ misleading of customers.

FFA chairman David Handley said a large amount of cheap imported cheese being sold under supermarkets’ own brands was not matching the standards required by British dairy farmers.

Supermarkets were “sucking in” cheese from all over the world, but the consumer has no knowledge of its origin or its production methods, he added.

And he accused some major UK supermarkets of using cheap imports of cheese as a “tool to drive down British milk prices”.

“The cheese market is in disarray and we have an awful lot of concerns about labelling standards,” said Mr Handley.

The full story is here in Farmers Weekly

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.

TV Chefs back ‘Honest Food Campaign’


The Conservatives’ new Honest Food Campaign  was launched yesterday at the National Farmers’ Union annual conference, by  Nick Herbert, the Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary.

The campaign which calls for an end to misleading food labels, has the backing of  TV chefs Antony Worrall-Thompson and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The chefs believe that a clearer labelling system which shows the country-of-origin, to help shoppers buy British food.

Current legislation has a loop-hole that allows foreign meat processed in Britain, to be labelled as British.  This means that some ready meals, for instance, that have been processed and packaged in this country, may contain meat and chicken from anywhere in the world.

The Conservatives are pushing a Bill to make country of origin labelling mandatory, and claim that clearer labelling will:

Allow consumers to make informed choices about the food they buy
Prevent non-British meat being labelled as British
Support British producers by allowing consumers to identify genuine British meat;
Promote superior British produce by highlighting the advantages of British produce
Restore trust and confidence in British food and labelling in general

Nick Herbert, “People have a right to know where their food comes from. Meat labelled ‘British’ should be born and bred in Britain, raised to our high welfare standards.”

NFU’s ‘New Agenda for Farming Conference’

New Agenda For FarmingThe annual NFU conference, this year themed ‘The New Agenda for Farming’ kicks off in Birmingham next Monday, and upbeat NFU president Peter Kendall is to call on the government to ‘put its money where its mouth is when it comes to farming.’

Mr Kendall’s slot is directly before DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn, who signalled a more progressive attitude towards farmers when he spoke at last month’s Oxford Farming Conference.

“There was lots of really good stuff about Oxford,” says Mr Kendall. “What we want to do is pick up on that and set out the agenda we want to see for farming. We want to set out where farming has come from and show where it needs to go.”

In particular, he highlights Mr Benn’s “no ifs, not buts” Oxford insistence that the government wants British farmers to produce as much food as possible – so long as doing so sustains the environment and safeguards the landscape.

The government is at last starting to acknowledge the importance of agriculture, believes Mr Kendall, especially when it comes to food security. The view of Britain as a rich country that can buy itself out of trouble is crumbling, he adds.

“DEFRA is starting to make a lot of noises about food production being important. We want to make sure we have an input into government policy that means farming has a better chance of being successful and thriving.”

Mr Benn’s speech is not the only sign that the government has finally woken up to the potential of British agriculture. Just before Christmas, the Home Office increased the number of work permits for migrant farm workers by 5000.

The number of workers entering Britain under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme had been restricted to 16,250. But the number will rise to 21,250 this year in a bid to overcome a labour shortage that had seen crops left unharvested, states the Farmers Weekly