6 episodes

The latest news about food, farming and the countryside

Farming Today BBC

    • Science

The latest news about food, farming and the countryside

    02/12/21 New farm payment scheme revealed, insects for hen feed, Christmas turkey workers

    02/12/21 New farm payment scheme revealed, insects for hen feed, Christmas turkey workers

    The Defra Secretary of State will announce the new post-Brexit support payments for farmers in England today. Will they like what they hear? It’s the biggest change to the way farmers are supported by the Government in nearly 50 years, so it is a big deal. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be implementing their own systems.

    Morrisons supermarket has announced that it’s installing ‘mini insect farms’ with ten of its egg producers to provide climate friendly feed for the hens. The aim is to reduce the amount of imported soya used as feed.

    All this week we've been looking into the issues around farm labour. December is the busy month for turkey farms and this year they've been landed with the double whammy of finding enough seasonal workers and coping with avian flu outbreaks.

    Presented by Caz Graham and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 13 min
    01/12/21 Gene-edited farm animals, uncertainty over new subsidy payments, shortage of farm workers in Northern Ireland

    01/12/21 Gene-edited farm animals, uncertainty over new subsidy payments, shortage of farm workers in Northern Ireland

    A paper from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics calls for a new international agreement to be reached around welfare in any future gene-edited farm animals - to ensure it doesn’t cause them harm, or lead to farming methods with lower welfare standards.

    Later this week the Government will announce details about the new support payments for farmers, the Sustainable Farming Incentive. At an online conference yesterday for tenant farmers, run by the National Farmers' Union, the Farming Minister Victoria Prentis surprised delegates by saying that the details of subsidies in England "will change from year to year".

    And a Northern Ireland charity says that a lack of farm workers is causing a spike in calls to its helpline, with farmers there leaving the dairy industry because a lack of staff is making the job impossible.

    Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 13 min
    30/11/21 First beaver translocation in Scotland, Storm Arwen's impact on farms, Riverford veg workers

    30/11/21 First beaver translocation in Scotland, Storm Arwen's impact on farms, Riverford veg workers

    We witness the first translocation of beavers into the wild since the Scottish Government changed its policy on the issue and pledged to 'actively support' the expansion of the country's beaver population via translocation - or trapping and releasing. This new policy contrasts with the previous position that lethal control was the primary option to reduce the species' impacts on farmland, with translocation out of home areas not permitted.

    Storm Arwen might be over, but the trail of damage left in its wake will take some time to clear up, and even longer to put right. We hear from a farmer who had to dig her sheep out of the snow, and from another who's lost 50% of tree cover from the farm.

    This week we’re focusing on the people who work on UK farms, and what farmers are doing to tackle the industry’s labour shortage. Riverford is one of the country’s biggest organic veg box businesses and in peak season it needs hundreds of people to pick and pack produce. Around half of the field workforce comes from the UK, a much higher proportion than is usual in horticulture. We ask why.

    Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 13 min
    29/11/21 - Seasonal Worker Pilot, water sustainability and public sector food procurement

    29/11/21 - Seasonal Worker Pilot, water sustainability and public sector food procurement

    People in Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Nepal are apparently keen to work on UK farms. The Association of Labour Providers tells us all three countries have been liaising with companies running the Government’s Seasonal Worker Pilot scheme. Meanwhile, the Home Office says a decision on the future of the pilot will be made “in due course”.

    Water is no longer something that farmers take for granted - over the past few years we’ve reported on both very wet weather and long dry spells destroying crops. Now 50 leading UK food and drink companies have signed up to support a new Water Roadmap, which aims to improve the availability and quality of water across 20 target areas.

    And the campaign group Sustain wants the Government to buy more - and higher quality - British food for the public sector. It says the £2.4 billion budget spent on food for hospitals, prisons and schools should support British farmers, spend taxpayer money in rural areas and provide people with healthier food.

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

    • 11 min
    27/11/21 Farming Today This Week: Croptec Show, wildlife crime, National Trust's ban on trail hunting

    27/11/21 Farming Today This Week: Croptec Show, wildlife crime, National Trust's ban on trail hunting

    This week we go from big machines to a small but powerful app. Along the way we’ll talk about the increase in wildlife crime - and the decrease in convictions, and the National Trust’s ban on trail hunting, something the pro hunt Countryside Alliance describes as disappointing.

    Presented by Charlotte Smith and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 25 min
    26/11/21 - Trail Hunting and the CropTec Show

    26/11/21 - Trail Hunting and the CropTec Show

    After so many months presenting the programme from home, Charlotte Smith is finally allowed out! She visits the CropTec Show in Peterborough to look at the latest innovation in farm machinery and test the mood among farmers.

    And, trail hunting will no longer be allowed on National Trust land, with the charity describing it as a ‘reputational risk‘. We ask what the future holds for trail hunting.

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

    • 13 min

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