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The latest news about food, farming and the countryside

Farming Today BBC

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The latest news about food, farming and the countryside

    24/09/21 - George Eustice on labour and food prices, slurry bags and farming succulents

    24/09/21 - George Eustice on labour and food prices, slurry bags and farming succulents

    Food prices will inevitably rise as a result of the increasing costs farmers and food producers are facing - the Environment Secretary George Eustice says that’s ‘undeniable’. He acknowledges that the rising price of gas, CO2 and labour - coupled with a shortage of haulage drivers and workers in both farming and food processing - is causing problems for the food supply chain. Charlotte Smith asks what the Government is doing.

    Slurry is an important fertiliser on farms across the UK, but it also has the potential to cause pollution - both in the air and in rivers. The rules on how, where and when muck is stored and spread are getting stricter. For example, within 6 years all slurry stores in England must be covered, and we've been taking a look at a new "slurry bag", which could be part of the solution.

    And we visit a farm on the Isles of Scilly where they've changed tack from growing cut flowers to succulents.

    Presented by Charlotte Smith
    Produced in Bristol by Heather Simons

    • 13 Min.
    23/09/21 - Lamb exports to the US, NI subsidy hike, sewage sludge and glasshouse gas use

    23/09/21 - Lamb exports to the US, NI subsidy hike, sewage sludge and glasshouse gas use

    British lamb may still be years away from American plates, despite news that the USA is to lift its ban. The Americans banned UK lamb along with sheep genetics in 1989, blaming BSE. The prime minister has now announced that ban will be lifted, calling it a 'solid incremental step on trade'. The National Sheep Association has welcomed the news, saying there is a strong market for British sheep semen and embryos in the US, but it warns it will take time to work through the details before exports to the US can actually start.

    Farmers in Northern Ireland are getting £15 million pounds extra money. We hear from the agriculture minister, Edwin Poots, who has announced the addition to this year’s single farm payment. Mr Poots also says he is trying to tackle the labour shortage in abattoirs, by lobbying the Home Office for permission to bring butchers from the Philippines to work in Northern Ireland.

    As part of our week's focus on muck, we learn how human sewage is turned into a product that can be spread on farmers' fields.

    And, with gas prices up by 250%, farmers growing veg under glass are reconsidering their plans. Gas is used to heat glasshouses, so costs are skyrocketing.

    Presented by Charlotte Smith
    Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons

    • 13 Min.
    22/09/21 Calls for a more secure supply of C02, Wales' future farm support, anaerobic digester

    22/09/21 Calls for a more secure supply of C02, Wales' future farm support, anaerobic digester

    It’s been reported that production of carbon dioxide could start up again soon, after the Government struck a deal with the American company CF Industries, which was providing 60% of the country’s CO2, a by-product of making fertiliser. CO2 is used to stun animals at slaughter and to extend the shelf life of food. The president of the National Farmers' Union says that urgent clarity is needed on the detail of the deal, including timings and volumes established in the agreement.
    Major reforms to farm subsidies in Wales won't be brought in until 2025, the Rural Affairs secretary has announced. Details of the plan are to be set out next year ahead of a fourth consultation in 2023. Lesley Griffiths denied Wales is lagging behind on the issue, insisting it was 'complex work' that needed to be done right.
    Where's there's muck, there's brass, as the saying goes - but on some farms, where there's muck, there's electricity. A number of farmers around the UK have been working towards a ‘golden circle’ approach where the farm works as a whole, to provide its own energy and cut waste.

    Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 13 Min.
    Poultry farmers call and the CO2 crisis, blanket bog restoration, phosphate pollution on the River Wye

    Poultry farmers call and the CO2 crisis, blanket bog restoration, phosphate pollution on the River Wye

    The poultry industry is predicting food shortages and animal welfare consequences for millions of birds if the carbon dioxide shortage continues. The closure of two fertiliser plants, due to a rise in gas prices, has put added pressure on the food and farming industries. The factories produce CO2 as a by-product, which is used in abattoirs and for processing and packaging. The British Poultry Council is calling on the Government to step in and help prevent serious disruption to food supplies and animal welfare.

    Some of Wales' rarest wild birds have made what's being described as a 'remarkable' comeback, after farmers and conservationists carried out work designed to fight climate change and flooding in Snowdonia.

    As part of our week looking at muck, we discuss the problem of phosphate pollution on the River Wye. Natural Resources Wales admitted last December that 60% of the river failed to meet phosphate targets. Phosphates can come from many sources including sewage, water containing detergents, and livestock manure. Farmers have been blamed for these high phosphate levels, particularly poultry farmers in Powys.

    Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 13 Min.
    20/09/21 Fertiliser factories halt production; Muck; Chelsea Flower Show

    20/09/21 Fertiliser factories halt production; Muck; Chelsea Flower Show

    Farmers are bracing for a fertiliser shortage after the closure of manufacturing plants here and in Europe because of a big increase in the price of gas. CF Fertilisers which has plants in Cheshire and on Teeside has halted work and hasn’t said when production might resume. The Agricultural Industries Confederation is holding talks with government about the situation and warning farmers to plan for shortages and price rises.

    All this week we are talking about muck - from cow dung to human waste. It's a valuable resource for farmers but can also cause pollution problems particularly in rivers.

    It's the Chelsea flower Show this week, and behind the show gardens lies a multi million pound horticulture industry. After a tricky time at the start of lockdown, the sector's thrived and the Horticultural Trades Association says plant growers are now dealing with unprecendented demand.

    Presenter = Charlotte Smith
    Producer = Rebecca Rooney

    • 11 Min.

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