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Farming Today


The latest news about food, farming and the countryside

The latest news about food, farming and the countryside


London, United Kingdom




The latest news about food, farming and the countryside




07/05/21 - Potato mountains, vintage farm machinery and farming emus

Its not a great time to be a potato grower - more than 20% of last year’s crop is still in storage on farms, as the pandemic and Brexit continue to affect sales. As we’ve reported, the ban on the export of seed potatoes to the EU has seen many growers having to store the crop - but growers of eating (or ware) potatoes are also facing problems due to the closure of restaurants over lockdowns. The levy body, the AHDB says there are 1.2 millions tonnes of potatoes in storage - nearly 100,000...


06/05/21 - Deer culling in lockdown, gene editing in the EU and DIY farm machinery

As lockdown eases venison producers are hoping for an upturn in their fortunes: the closure of pubs and restaurants hit them hard. We hear from one producer whose been sending meat to food charities. Meanwhile, the lack of a market for venison meant many stalkers have stopped culling deer. We find out what that might mean for the deer population this year. A report from the European Commission has found EU rules on gene editing and genetic modification are ‘not fit for purpose'. It says that...


05/05/21 - Farm jobs for the unemployed, a green recovery and robot tractors

Last month, the NFU announced it would be working with the Department for Work and Pensions to match up unemployed people with jobs on farms. After the closure of the Pick for Britain campaign, it’s hoped the scheme would help provide seasonal workers during harvest, and cover some of the placements which might not be filled by workers from the EU. But seasonal work does not appeal everyone - so we ask the Employment Minister, Mims Davies, how this will work. A new report commissioned by the...


04/05/21 Future farm machinery, robotic weeder, food innovation award

We hear about a robot which scans weeds then zaps them with electricity. It uses artificial intelligence and its creators say it'll allow farmers to target specific areas and tackle weeds that have become resistant to chemicals. We discuss the benefits of smaller, greener and autonomous machines on farms, but ask whether this developing technology is all good news for the farmer. And celebrating the people working to tackle the challenges facing food: Radio 4’s Food Programme presenter, Dan...


The National Botanic Garden of Wales

Last year marked the 20th anniversary the National Botanic Garden of Wales but there were no celebrations because of the coronavirus lockdown. Now that restrictions are easing the site is open once again. In this special bank holiday programme, Mariclare Carey-Jones looks back at the history of the garden, and finds out what it takes to run the onsite farm. She’ll also be talking to the Curator of Horticulture about the Great Glasshouse, and she’ll be finding out about the garden’s new...


01/05/21 - The rural vote, imports and exports and a Lincolnshire pub crawl

Millions of people across Great Britain will be heading to the polls on May 6th in local and National elections. In Scotland and Wales, new devolved governments will be voted in, while across England, councillors, mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners will be chosen. We find out what role the rural vote will play. Exports of animal products to the EU face new paperwork and delays since January. The figures, published by the Food and Drink Federation, show exports of dairy products like...


30/04/21 Plant clocks, local elections, peat bogs

Plants, like us, have an internal body clock. Plant scientists have known about it for some years but new research argues that using plants’ ability to tell time the time could make food production more efficient and more sustainable. We’ve been looking ahead to the elections taking place next week on the 6th of May in our programmes over the last few days, focusing on rural issues. Local council elections are happening in England, although not in every local authority. Around 28 million...


29/04/21 - Imports from the EU, a global farm sustainability metric and the Scottish election

A new report from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee criticises the fact that checks on food imports from the EU still haven’t come into force. The need for health certificates on imports like meat and milk will start in October, with in-person inspections on animal products due from January 2022. The report also calls for a digital system to make the new checks on imports quicker. In just over six months, world leaders will be meeting in Glasgow for the COP26 UN...


28/04/21 - Food exports post Brexit, Welsh election, land use to save the planet

The latest government figures show UK food and drink exports to the EU in February were 40% down on last year. The figures, published by the Food and Drink Federation, show cheese exports were down nearly two thirds, chicken and beef down by more than three quarters. Sales of dairy products including milk and cream, declined by a massive 96% - we speak to a dairy exporter to find out why. Wales goes to the polls in just over a week's time in a Senedd election that could have big...


27/04/21: Review into Northern Ireland's food and farming, local council elections, strawberries in heated tunnels

The Government’s set up a strategic review of food and farming in Northern Ireland. It’ll be led by Sir Peter Kendall, farmer and former Chair of the Agriculture And Horticulture Development Board. The review will look at the challenges facing farming and food processing, and give a roadmap for the future, including improving productivity, sustainability, technology and looking at new opportunities for markets. The 6th of May will see a bumper crop of elections across England, Wales and...


26/04/21 - Growing hemp for CBD in the UK, BBC FAFA Awards and a professional pub lover...

In a new report on the future of CBD in the UK, the industry calls on Government to allow British farmers to grow hemp to produce the oil. CBD - cannabidiol - comes from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant. It’s used as an additive in many products, from food and drink to skin treatments and the growing market for it here is reckoned to be worth 300 million pounds a year. No surprise then that farmers would like to get involved, but as of now, although they can grow hemp with a licence,...


24/04/21 Salmon exports, soil, social media hoof trimming

Few farmers would underestimate their soil's importance to their ability to produce food. Soil also stores carbon and in a week where Earth Day saw big announcements from the USA and others on cutting emissions we can expect to hear more about soil. Putting new life into the old saying ‘where there’s muck there’s brass’ is English agriculture policy: increasing numbers of farmers are now looking at the carbon stored in soil, as a way of earning money in the future, through the new...


23/04/21 - Salmon export figures, naturally GM crops, dung beetles, TikTok hoof trimmer

Scottish Salmon Producers say the Government is 97% out on its export figures for January. HMRC statistics show a big drop in salmon exports to the EU this January after Brexit, but Scottish producers say they actually sent more than at the same time last year. Hamish MacDonnell, from the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, says despite rising costs and delays for exporters, they are still managing to get fish to Europe. HMRC is investigating. Crops have been genetically modifying...


22/04/21 - Building in AONBs, a dry and cold April, worm farms and fishing safety

England’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are under threat from ‘reckless development’ according to CPRE, the countryside charity, which is calling on the government to halt it. AONB’s are given extra legal protections to preserve some of the country’s outstanding landscapes, but it is possible to get permission to build in them. CPRE says that since 2012 the amount of land built on or earmarked for development has more than doubled. It's been an unusually dry and cold April. Charlotte...


21/04/21 - Bivalve mollusc exports, silvopasture and Labour's Rural Review

The export of bivalve molluscs from Class B waters to the EU for human consumption came to a halt as of the 1st January. It’s had a devastating impact on mollusc farming businesses. DEFRA said they had had assurances from the EU that the trade WOULD still be able to go ahead after Brexit, and that the EU has changed the rules. Now, we get a response from the European Commission. A field lab being run by Innovative Farmers - a not-for-profit group which links up farmers and researchers - is...


20/04/21 - Pick for Britain ends, Carbon storage

It’s a year since the ‘Pick for Britain’ campaign was launched by the government, with the aim of employing British pickers for fruit and vegetables, replacing overseas staff who were unable to travel to the UK because of Covid restrictions. Now it's been closed. Instead, the National Farmers Union has issued guidance for horticultural farms to contact the Department for Work and Pensions directly, to link up vacancies with people currently unemployed. Meanwhile, the Seasonal Agricultural...


19/04/21 Soil, Rural tourism, Potatoes

Soils are seen by some as the Cinderella of the environment, but soil scientists say they're vital for cleaning water and storing carbon and it's about time we monitored them as regularly as we would our cars. Scotland's rural tourism businesses are gearing up to welcome visitors once more. Caroline Millar runs luxury holiday cottages on her family farm near Dundee. She's fully booked until September, but a lot of her guests are rescheduling holidays they should have had 12 months ago....


Farming Today This Week 17/04/21 - 100 Days of Brexit, breeding calmer cows and a new market for wool

As the dust settles after new rules came into force for exporting to the EU, Charlotte Smith investigates how food and farming businesses are coping. In January, there were some serious problems, but this week figures from the Office for National Statistics suggested trade between the UK and the EU partially recovered in February. However, trade was still below levels for this time last year and we hear from businesses struggling with the burden of new administrative costs. We also hear hope...


16/04/21 Peak District turns 70. Dealing with visitors to Scottish countryside. Welsh fishermen. The stink beetle pest.

The Peak District National Park is turning 70. It was the first place in Britain to be designated a national park and under lockdown it's been more popular than ever, visitor numbers have doubled in some places. How well is the national park balancing the demands of visitors, farmers and wildlife? Lockdown restrictions are easing in Scotland, earlier than planned, but after chaos at some beauty spots last year there are fears over further problems this spring and summer. The Scottish...


Net zero farming, Brexit and cheese exports, Livestock near misses

Farmers need to take action now if agriculture in the UK is to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. That's according to a report published today based on new research from University College London. Caz Graham finds out more. All this week we've been marking the first 100 days since the end of the Brexit transition period and today Bob Walker catches up with a cheese producer to find out how his business has been impacted. Cattle were involved in more than a quarter of deaths on farms in...