21 episodes

The latest news about food, farming and the countryside

Farming Today BBC Radio 4

    • Science
    • 4.5 • 51 Ratings

The latest news about food, farming and the countryside

    04/03/24 Local food for public sector; Rural crime; Lambing

    04/03/24 Local food for public sector; Rural crime; Lambing

    Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Wiltshire, Dorset and Cornwall are among the latest local authorities which have voted to buy from local farmers when procuring meat, dairy, fruit and veg for council-organised events. Both the government and the Labour Party are aiming for 50% of spending on public sector food to go on local and sustainable produce. We ask Professor Tom MacMillan from the Royal Agricultural University, how significant that could be for farmers.
    Farms with expensive machinery, miles from their nearest police station, can be easy targets for thieves. The National Farmers Union say that, nationally, rural crime rose by more than a fifth between 2021 and 2022 - costing an estimated £50 million. Thames Valley Police have been taking part in a week of action to try and prevent rural crime.
    It’s lambing time, a full-on time of year for sheep farmers. Last year 15 and a half million lambs were born into the UK flock by June, although that was down six per cent on the year before. We’re going to take an in depth look at lambing this week, the highs, the lows, and the measures farmers go to to ensure a good healthy crop of lambs. We start off by talking to Dr Joe Henry, president of the Sheep Veterinary Society
    Presenter = Caz Graham
    Producer = Rebecca Rooney

    • 11 min
    01/03/24 AI Weather forecasts six weeks in advance; Trout farm; River pollution.

    01/03/24 AI Weather forecasts six weeks in advance; Trout farm; River pollution.

    A new 15 year, £30 million partnership between Reading University, the Met Office and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts is going to be harnessing AI to produce more accurate forecasts that could predict the weather for up to six weeks in advance. As climate change brings longer droughts and more flooding, what benefits could better forecasting have for farmers? We speak to the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading.
    The cleaner the river, the better it is for the fish that live in it. Bibury Trout Farm was founded more than 120 years ago on what were former watercress beds on the River Coln near Cirencester. The river is at the heart of what is still a working fish farm and tourist attraction. As part of our week looking into rivers in the landscape, we visit the farm and find out why the river is so vitally important to this business.
    Presenter = Caz Graham
    Producer = Rebecca Rooney

    • 13 min
    29/02/24 Welsh farmers protest at Senedd; Natural flood management; Battery storage plans

    29/02/24 Welsh farmers protest at Senedd; Natural flood management; Battery storage plans

    Thousands of Welsh farmers have protested outside the Senedd, the Welsh Parliament, in Cardiff. They are angry at plans for a new Welsh system of subsidies: The Sustainable Farming Scheme. They say proposals to use 10% of their land for growing trees and a further 10% for wildlife habitats are unworkable. The Welsh Government insists it is listening to their concerns and the scheme is under consultation. Many farmers say the scheme would jeopardise their businesses and feel the government isn’t listening.
    Forty new Natural Flood Management projects across England are to share £25 million of government funding to help alleviate flooding. Tree planting, creating wetlands and reconnecting rivers with their floodplains all help ‘slow the flow’. Farmers can apply for grants to help manage river catchments as part of agri-environment schemes. The Ribble Rivers Trust in Lancashire has been allocated more than a million pounds for four new projects. We visit one of them, which uses a series of dams to hold water upstream longer.
    Campaigners in rural Buckinghamshire have called plans to build one of the largest battery storage facilities in Europe on their doorstep 'outrageous'. The proposals would see nearly 900 storage containers built on 26 acres of land in the village of Granborough near Aylesbury. The company Statera says the battery farm is needed to support the rapid growth in renewable energy.

    Presenter = Caz Graham
    Producer = Rebecca Rooney

    • 13 min
    27/02/24 Pollack fishermen criticise government scheme to help. Pollution on the River Wye. Food systems.

    27/02/24 Pollack fishermen criticise government scheme to help. Pollution on the River Wye. Food systems.

    Pollack fishermen are selling their boats after quotas for pollack were cut to zero. Defra says it's to safeguard fish stocks and have announced a £6 million scheme to help. However fishermen and the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation say the government announcements won't make any difference to fishing families who are losing their livelihoods.
    All this week we’re talking about rivers. The River Wye has been badly polluted over the years. In 2020 phosphorous pollution from large-scale chicken farms along the Wye was blamed for algal blooms that appeared on the higher reaches of the river. So what’s the situation on the River Wye today? We speak to a campaigner who's striving to protect the waterway and a poultry farmer who's changed the way she farms to help keep the river clean.
    Farmers have been protesting, on the Continent and in the UK, at changes to the way they are being encouraged to farm. However one academic is calling for the industry to focus on the positives, and work together to achieve both increased food production and environmental protection. We speak to Jack Bobo, Director of the Food Systems Institute at the University of Nottingham who believes more should be done to encourage farmers to take up the challenge of farming more sustainably - in a way that benefits their business and nature.
    Presenter = Anna Hill
    Producer = Rebecca Rooney

    • 13 min
    26/02/24 Welsh farmers welcoming a greener farming policy; river pollution and flooding

    26/02/24 Welsh farmers welcoming a greener farming policy; river pollution and flooding

    The BBC has been told that farmers in Wales who support overhauling their subsidies to help the environment feel "intimidated" and afraid to speak out.  It comes as some farmers are staging protests across Wales over plans for a greener post-Brexit funding scheme for agriculture, which farming unions say is unworkable.  But the Nature Friendly Farming Network, representing around 500 farmers in Wales, told BBC Wales that sticking to "business as usual" would not help the industry succeed in the long term. 
    It's been very wet and, as we've been reporting, lots of farmland is or has been underwater. That means crops destroyed and new crops not being planted. We've heard from farmers while the rain is clearly the problem, they say the Environment Agency is sometimes not helping. The Chair of the Environment Agency, Alan Lovell, spoke at last week's National Farmers Union conference, and unsurprisingly flooding was top of the agenda. He explained the EA’s flood strategy in rural areas.
    The Rivers Trust have released their latest State of Our Rivers report which shows the extent of farm pollution in rivers.
    Presented by Charlotte Smith and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 11 min
    23/02/24 Farmer protests in Wales: Lesley Griffiths; next farming generation; outgoing president of the NFU

    23/02/24 Farmer protests in Wales: Lesley Griffiths; next farming generation; outgoing president of the NFU

    As farmer protests continue in Wales the Rural Affairs Minister tells us she is listening.
    We've spent all week talking about farming's next generation and as with most family businesses, many farmers hope at least one of their children will want to take over. But if you’ve got three kids who all want to stay, it might prove hard for all of them to make a living.
    Anna Hill meets Minette Batters who stood down this week as President of the National Farmers' Union. Having been the most influential woman in British farming for the last six years, she's going back to the family farm in Wiltshire.
    Presented by Charlotte Smith and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 13 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
51 Ratings

51 Ratings

KidaStar ,

Informative

This is not an exciting podcast. No music. No give-aways. No comedians. This is an informative podcast covering issues facing British farmers. I'm not from the U.K., but I like to listen to their problems and solutions. It gives a broad look at agricultural issues, from the farmer, the shopper, the environmentalist, the legislator. I love listening.

tbache9248 ,

Very Educational

I am from the US and really like hearing about problems and solutions. I particularly like to colorful descriptions about the weather, what is being seen, the sounds, wellie boots and all. The recent topic of invasive species was quite interesting. Please keep it up.

Mulligan Hal ,

This is a fun podcast

I listen to this all the time. The stories are interesting, even to someone here in the US. Also helps me understand Britain better.

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