28 episodes

The latest news about food, farming and the countryside

Farming Today BBC Radio 4

    • Science
    • 4.4 • 272 Ratings

The latest news about food, farming and the countryside

    01/02/2023 - Land Use report; Potatoes; Oil central heating.

    01/02/2023 - Land Use report; Potatoes; Oil central heating.

    A major report into land use by the Royal Society warns the government not to 'over promise' what the countryside can deliver. It says government ambitions to use our land to boost food production, protect nature and fight climate change may not be achieved because of disjointed policy-making and a lack of robust data. We speak to Sir Ian Boyd, professor of Biology at the University of St Andrews who contributed to the report.

    Some potato growers have stopped growing spuds because of soaring costs and difficult weather. Oven chip manufacturer McCain has increased its payments to potato growers to ensure future supplies. The processor is the largest buyer of British potatoes and works with more than 250 growers, buying up to 15 per cent of the UK's annual crop. It's investing £35 million in its farmers this year and paying a supplement to those who’ve had to renew electricity contracts or are paying variable rates, totalling £50 million in two years.

    All this week we're looking at the cost of living and rural poverty. In rural areas, many homes aren't connected to the gas network, so depend on oil for heating - according to the Countryside Alliance more than half of rural homes are not on the gas grid, compared to just one in ten urban properties. We hear from a charity which helps households who are struggling to pay their fuel bills.

    Presenter: Anna Hill
    Producer: Rebecca Rooney

    • 13 min
    31/01/23 - Environment targets; Rural Poverty.

    31/01/23 - Environment targets; Rural Poverty.

    The government has published its Environmental Improvement Plan. This outlines a raft of goals which it says lay the foundation stones to halt the decline of nature by 2030, and then reverse it. It includes targets to improve wildlife habitats; air and water quality; species protection; and an investment in creating 70 thousand jobs connected to the countryside and the environment.

    All week we're looking at rural poverty. Homelessness in rural areas is something that often remains hidden. We speak to an academic who's been researching the issue and a woman who was once homeless and now helps others.

    Presenter: Anna Hill
    Producer: Rebecca Rooney

    • 13 min
    30/01/23 Welsh Agriculture Bill; Rural poverty; Giant Hedge.

    30/01/23 Welsh Agriculture Bill; Rural poverty; Giant Hedge.

    The Welsh Government should add more clarity to the bill bringing in the ‘made for Wales’ agriculture policy. That's according to the Senedd’s Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee which has scrutinised the bill, making 50 recommendations. It paves the way for a new Sustainable Farming Scheme - SFS - which is expected to come in 2025. It will pay farmers for efforts to protect and enhance Wales' scenery, environment and wildlife as well as good farming practice. We speak to the committee chair MS Paul Davies who say's it's a vital piece of legislation.

    Wandering through the average rural village, poverty is probably not what you see, we’re more likely to notice the picturesque pub or the well-appointed village green, but this week we’re going to be looking at rural poverty, often a hidden aspect of life in the countryside. The Rural Services Network says : If England’s rural communities were treated as a distinct region, their need for levelling up would be greater than any other." Janet Dwyer, Professor of Rural Policy at the University of Gloucestershire explains how the way we measure an areas affluence is part of the problem:

    An environmental group in Dorset is drawing up plans to plant a hedge that they say will cover nearly 100 miles. The volunteers behind the scheme hope the giant hedge will become a wildlife corridor and boost biodiversity.

    Presenter = Charlotte Smith
    Producer = Rebecca Rooney

    • 11 min
    28/01/23 FTTW: Land use, Defra secretary, fishing week

    28/01/23 FTTW: Land use, Defra secretary, fishing week

    Farming and the environment with the Defra Secretary, Therese Coffey.
    How should we use our land? With competing priorities of housing, solar farms, food production and woodland to name but a few, who decides? We hear from Sir Charles Godfray, director of the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University.
    And research on abuse of migrant labour within the fishing industry.

    Presented by Charlotte Smith and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 25 min
    27/01/23 - Defra minister on new environmental schemes; Fishing

    27/01/23 - Defra minister on new environmental schemes; Fishing

    The secretary of state for the environment, Therese Coffey, has visited a farm in Berkshire to sell the updated version of the SFI - the Sustainable Farming Incentive which will pay English farmers to do good things for the environment, such as maintaining hedgerows or improving soil. It's the first tier of the Environmental Land Management Schemes - ELMs - which offer farmers payments for public goods, rather than direct subsidy, the BPS payments, as has been the case under the EU's CAP.

    The scheme's being expanded and that's been broadly welcomed by farmers - who can now get better payments for 280 actions they can take on their land, but conservationists question the level of ambition in the SFI, though welcome news that more projects will be supported under another ELMs scheme, Landscape Recovery.

    The main industry bodies representing fishermen in the UK say the industry faces a 'frightening' loss of fishing grounds over the coming decades due to the expansion of protected marines areas and offshore wind farms. The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation says there should be more engagement with the industry to minimise and mitigate the displacement of fishing activity.

    Presenter: Charlotte Smith
    Producer: Rebecca Rooney

    • 13 min
    26/01/23 - The Scottish hunting ban, more detail on English farm payments, rural buses, abuse in migrant fishing crews

    26/01/23 - The Scottish hunting ban, more detail on English farm payments, rural buses, abuse in migrant fishing crews

    The Scottish Government says its Hunting with Dogs Bill, passed by MSPs this week, will end illegal hunts by closing a loophole in the law. It aims to prevent packs of dogs chasing and killing wild mammals, such as foxes and hares. But animal rights organisations say the provision of a licencing scheme leaves a loophole, while land managers say the change is unnecessary and impractical.

    The government is clamping down on the abuse of fishing crews; so says the fishing (and farming) minister Mark Spencer.

    More options, improved payments, and an accelerated rollout: today more details have been released on England's 'public money for public goods' payment system, and has got a cautious welcome from farmers and conservationists.

    And rural transport must change drastically if local bus services are to survive. That was the message yesterday to a special one-off session of Parliament's transport committee.

    Presented by Charlotte Smith and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 13 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
272 Ratings

272 Ratings

Be cat ,

Short and Factual

Great little 15mins catch up and updates - a key listen for farmers and surveyors

bobski 123 ,

Bobski

Excellent Programme

grass man 01 ,

Disgraceful

Waste of time worst than countryfile needs more talk about agriculture and farm livestock

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