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Podcast Farming Today
Podcast Farming Today

Farming Today


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  • 23/03/23 - Crab sales, Spanish drought and horticulturists of the future
    The Blue Sea Food Company sells Devon crab in the UK and around the world... and says their fuel costs have gone up more than 500% in the last five years... with additional costs for exporting to the EU since Brexit. But, a growth in demand from the USA and Asia means they're still optimistic. Spain is experiencing a drought. In Catalonia, the use of water for irrigation is subject to a mandatory 40% reduction. So with veg shortages already evident on UK supermarket shelves, could this exacerbate the situation? And a £1million training facility is being launched at Hadlow College in Kent, with funding from the Government to create a new vineyard and orchard. But can it really prepare students for the reality of life in an industry that's facing so many challenges? Presented by Charlotte Smith Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons
  • 22/03/23 Calls for crab quotas; soft shell crabs; oat processing plant.
    All week we're assessing the state of the shellfish industry. Brown crabs are a lucrative catch for Northern Ireland's fishermen but concern about a decline in numbers has led to the fishers themselves calling for tighter rules about their extraction. Northern Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has introduced measures limiting the size of crabs which can be landed and now it has gone further, banning fishermen from catching immature, soft shelled crabs. The charity Buglife, which supports invertebrates including crabs and lobsters, welcomes the scheme in Northern Ireland but is calling for improved protection measures for brown crabs around the rest of the UK. They say crab numbers have plummeted, and unlike fish, there are no quotas governing how many crabs can be caught. A multi-million pound oat processing plant will open later this year in Northamptonshire. The new company called Navara brings together a consortium of the growing group Frontier, Anglia Maltings Holdings, and cereal store specialists Camgrain. The plant will supply oats for cereal companies and possibly oat milk processors. It says it will have the capacity to be the biggest factory of its kind in Europe. Presenter = Anna Hill Producer = Rebecca Rooney
  • 21/03/23 Henry Dimbleby stands down from Defra; Mussels; Bovine TB in people.
    The government's "Food Tsar" Henry Dimbleby has resigned as the lead non executive director at DEFRA after what he called an "insane" lack of action on obesity. His National Food Strategy was comprehensive but many aspects of it were ignored. This week he publishes a book called "Ravenous", which pulls together his blueprint for government, the food industry, health and land use. He's calling for a Good Food Bill. All week we're talking about the future of the shellfish industry including crabs, lobsters, shrimps and bivalves, like mussels. One of the leading growers of mussels in Wales is Deepdock Mussels based along the waters of the Menai Strait off Angelsey. The company says since Brexit, the water monitoring for cleanliness is interpreted differently by the UK government than EU member states, and it puts them at a disadvantage. We often talk about bovine TB affecting cattle, but researchers from the University of Bristol are trying to understand why the incidence of people catching the bovine strain of TB are increasing and whether farmers are particularly at risk. 20 years ago there were about 20 cases of bovine TB in people a year - more recent figures record about 40 cases a year and in the South West in particular, show about 8% of all cases of TB in people are caused by the bovine strain, known as M. bovis. Heather Simons went to an event where farmers were doing a blood test as part of the research project - in return for a free lunch. Presenter = Anna Hill Producer = Rebecca Rooney
  • 20/03/23 Calls to re-open inquiry into shellfish deaths; shellfish industry; seasonal workers
    Fishing crews on Teesside say the government must re-open inquiries into the die-off of crabs and lobsters, they say further dredging in the area is causing problems and is now affecting prawn catches. Thousands of crustaceans washed up on beaches in the autumn of 2021, and subsequently catches are massively down. Fishermen blame old industrial chemicals released by dredging. DEFRA first blamed algae and then after an inquiry said dredging was not to blame and the deaths were 'most likely' down to a new disease or parasite. Fishermen from the North East Fishing Collective also say existing schemes to support the local fishing industry won't help the small boats. Shellfish producers are still struggling with changes in the wake of Brexit and also face difficulties because of measures designed to protect native oysters.All this week we're looking at shellfish, from farming to exporting. The Shellfish Association of Great Britain says some parts of the industry are doing well, but for others it's much harder. A taskforce has been launched to safeguard the rights of seasonal workers. Retailers, growers, recruitment companies and employment experts have joined forces to improve the situation of people recruited abroad to work on UK farms. This year there are 45,000 visas available under the seasonal workers scheme, allowing people to come here for 6 months to work on farms or in food processing, with 10,000 more available if needed. However there have been concerns about the way the people are recruited and the potential for them to be exploited. The Seasonal Workers Scheme Taskforce believes they can make a difference. Presenter = Charlotte Smith Producer = Rebecca Rooney
  • 18/03/23 Farming Today This Week: rows over sheep; Dutch farmers winning elections; exploited migrant workers.
    This week sheep have been causing a bit of a stir, with those both pro and anti trading arguments on social media. We discuss the tensions between where sheep are, should be, should not be and who decides, with environmentalist Ben Goldsmith and the National Sheep Association's Phil Stocker. Farmers on Dartmoor say they've been told they must radically reduce the number of sheep and other livestock on common land if they want to remain in government schemes. Natural England has written to commons associations offering rollovers of existing Higher Level Stewardship Schemes, but farmers say these new agreements require the number of animals on the land in the summer must be reduced, on some commons by an average of 75%. Many farmers here are watching what's happening in the Netherlands, where a farmers' party has stunned Dutch politics, and is set to be the biggest party in the upper house of parliament after provincial elections. The Farmer-citizen movement (BBB) was only set up in 2019 in the wake of widespread farmers' protests. As we reported last month, the Dutch government wants to reduce livestock numbers near protected countryside, to reduce emissions. It has said it will force buyouts of the 3,000 worst polluting farms, if voluntary measures fail. The Dutch PM described the result as a ‘clear message from voters’. An investigation by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, the GLAA, has fund that hundreds of workers in meat processing, recruited from Nepal, were exploited and found to have paid £12,000 to find a job. Such fees are illegal in the UK. Presented by Charlotte Smith and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

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