Lanterns code welcome, but ban required says NFU

Somerset County Gazette:

8:00pm Sunday 31st August 2014

The NFU has commented on the Trading Standards Institute's new code of practice for sky lanterns and is calling for total ban. The code offers guidance for those designing, manufacturing, distributing, retailing or using sky lanterns -which have been the subject of sustained NFU lobbying because of the risks they pose, both to crops and livestock

Farmers urged not to come a crop-per on a level crossing this harvest

Somerset County Gazette:

1:00pm Saturday 30th August 2014

Network Rail is reminding farmers and farmworkers of the importance of level crossings safety as they gather their crops this harvest. There are hundreds of user-worked crossings on farmland in Britain, which see a marked increase in traffic during the harvest season. Figures collated over the past ten years reveal that the number of collisions and near misses at these types of crossings also sharply increases over the harvest months.

Environment Agency to stage community open morning on Somerset Levels tomorrow

Somerset County Gazette: Dredging has begun along the River Parrett today. Picture by Clayton Jane claytonjane.co.uk

2:50pm Friday 29th August 2014

The Environment Agency is staging a community open morning after passing the halfway point of the dredging operation on the Somerset Moors and Levels.

University tests roadkill badgers for bovine TB

Somerset County Gazette: Badger cull will tackle bovine TB

1:20pm Friday 29th August 2014

Scientists at the University of Liverpool, in collaboration with farming groups and wildlife charities, are investigating the presence of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in Cheshire wildlife by testing badgers that have been involved in road collisions.

Introduction of water voles to Cornwall sees them return to the every county in England for the first time since 1989.

Somerset County Gazette: A water vole on the river bank Pic: Margaret Holland

12:08pm Thursday 28th August 2014

Wildlife experts at the Environment Agency have confirmed that water voles have returned to every county in England, following the final release of 60 captive bred voles within the Bude river catchment in Cornwall.

Devon’s world champion wool handler competes at county’s lamb shearing & dog trials event

Somerset County Gazette:

11:22am Thursday 28th August 2014

The reigning world champion wool handler, Devon-based Hilary Bond, narrowly lost out on picking up another title at the Devon County Show’s Lamb Shearing competitions.

Innovative feeder proven as badger deterrent

Somerset County Gazette: Badger     (6860415)

1:00pm Wednesday 27th August 2014

A recent trial undertaken at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) revealed how limiting badger access to mineral licks, blocks and tubs with an innovative feeder design will improve on-farm biosecurity.

Wildlife experts join forces to help curb infection

Somerset County Gazette: ADOPT: The native red squirrel – one can be ‘adopted’ in a scheme which is being supported by the John Lewis Partnership

8:00am Wednesday 27th August 2014

Animal experts are calling for better health surveillance of wild species to help stop the spread of diseases. Monitoring the health of animals living freely in the wild is crucial for managing infections that can pass into domestic animal and human populations, they say. It is also important for conserving threatened species and maintaining wildlife diversity.

CLA urges the public to ‘stop using dangerous sky lanterns’

Somerset County Gazette:

8:00am Tuesday 26th August 2014

The CLA has responded to the newly announced code of practice for sky lanterns by calling on the public to refrain from using them.

Farmer volunteers sought for nationwide dung sampling

Somerset County Gazette:

4:00pm Monday 25th August 2014

Scientists from Scotland’s Rural College are inviting farmers’ help for a GB wide dung sample survey investigating the prevalence of E. coli O157 infection amongst cattle destined for the food chain. The survey, to be carried out by SRUC and ADAS, is part of a much larger study, funded by the Food Standards Agency and led by the University of Edinburgh.

New industry guidance on hazardous sky lanterns

Somerset County Gazette:

12:00pm Monday 25th August 2014

The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) has published a new code of practice for sky lanterns aimed at and developed by industry. The code was the outcome of discussions between Government and industry hosted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

NFU cycle ride for Africa

Somerset County Gazette:

12:00pm Wednesday 20th August 2014

The seven riders of the NFU cycling team braved torrential rain and strong winds to complete a gruelling 86 mile ride through London and the Surrey countryside.

More information issued on new CAP greening rules

Somerset County Gazette: Agricultural land - capital growth key driver for investors

2:00pm Monday 18th August 2014

More information has been published for farmers about the new Common Agricultural Policy rules. Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss has announced further details of what the new CAP greening rules will mean for English farmers, whilst calling on the EU to provide urgent clarity on the outstanding issues and review the three crop rule.

Deadline extended for Soil Association Innovation Awards

Somerset County Gazette:

1:00pm Monday 18th August 2014

The Soil Association is delighted to announce that the deadline for their Innovation Awards has been extended until Tuesday August 26. Now in their second year, the awards showcase the most innovative approaches to sustainable, low-impact farming and growing.

Rural communities to compete for mobile access

Somerset County Gazette: Companies will look at new ways to bring superfast broadband to remote areas

2:00pm Friday 15th August 2014

Vodafone UK has launched a national programme giving up to 100 rural communities across the UK the opportunity to apply for mobile access. Vodafone is calling for communities to work together, in partnership with their local MP, to apply for the installation of Vodafone’s innovative Open Sure Signal technology in their villages

Farm Stay launches new website to bring more tourists to the countryside

Somerset County Gazette:

7:00am Thursday 14th August 2014

The chief executive of Farm Stay says that the company’s new website will boost tourism and deliver many benefits for the rural economy. Andy Woodward said a huge emphasis has been placed on suggesting local activities and nearby tourist attractions for guests to encourage them to use farm accommodation as their gateway to the countryside.

National Rural Crime Network launched

Somerset County Gazette: Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg

7:00am Wednesday 13th August 2014

A new National Rural Crime Network, endorsed by eighteen of the UK’s Police and Crime Commissioners, including Devon and Cornwall’s Tony Hogg, has been set-up to help tackle rural crime more effectively in England and Wales.

Rural crime cost UK over £40m in 2012

Somerset County Gazette: Three off-road motorbikes stolen in Badger Farm

10:00am Monday 11th August 2014

The latest findings by leading rural insurer, NFU Mutual has found that rural theft in the UK cost over £40m in 2012 with tools, quad bikes and fuel being the most targeted items.

New environment secretary visits CLA Game Fair

Somerset County Gazette:

2:00pm Sunday 10th August 2014

An economically viable countryside needs a policy agenda which will encourage business development, increase food production and recognise the cost of maintaining a well managed environment; those were the key messages CLA President Henry Robinson delivered to DEFRA Secretary of State, Liz Truss at the CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace Oxfordshire on Sunday.

Burges Salmon advises Co-operative Group on sale of Farms business

Somerset County Gazette:

6:00am Friday 8th August 2014

Burges Salmon has advised Co-operative Group on the sale of its Farms business. The sale reflects The Co-operative’s decision to focus on its core Retail and Consumer Services divisions, including Food, Funeralcare, General Insurance and Legal Services. The net proceeds of the Farms sale will be used to further reduce The Co-operative’s debt and invest in its core businesses.

New expert joins Potato Council

Somerset County Gazette:

11:00am Wednesday 6th August 2014

The communications and knowledge transfer team at Potato Council has a new team leader, Dr Philip Burgess, who brings a breadth of technical, scientific and commercial expertise gained from a career dedicated to potatoes.

MEPs sign up to support British Farmers

Somerset County Gazette:

11:00am Monday 4th August 2014

South West MEP Julie Girling was among a number of Conservative MEPs who have put their names to a charter pledging support for British farming.

Cotswold farmer wins award for giving extra for conservation

Somerset County Gazette:

8:00am Monday 28th July 2014

Richard Benyon, who was awarded the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s prestigious 2013 Cotswold Grey Partridge Trophy for the miles of wildlife habitats that he has created for this rare bird, recently passed on the baton to the latest winner of this coveted prize.

Frogmary Green Farm Joins Network of LEAF Demonstration Farms

Somerset County Gazette:

7:00am Sunday 27th July 2014

Frogmary Green Farm has become the latest farm to join LEAF’s nationwide network of LEAF Demonstration Farms. It joins over 40 other farms across the country set up to showcase the very best of sustainable farming practices.

New report: why we need a new recipe for farming, wildlife, food and public health

Somerset County Gazette: Agricultural land - capital growth key driver for investors

7:00am Saturday 26th July 2014

'Square Meal: why we need a new recipe for farming, wildlife, food and public health' is a new report published by The Food Research Collaboration, the RSPB, Friends of the Earth, the National Trust, the Food Ethics Council, Sustain, the Wildlife Trusts, the Soil Association, Eating Better and Compassion in World Farming.

Replace, Reduce, Refine – Roundtable discusses antimicrobial use

Somerset County Gazette: Hit-and-run driver leaves cow for dead

3:00pm Friday 25th July 2014

A framework for replacement, reduction and refinement needs to be established for the responsible use of antimicrobials along the food supply chain. This is one of the main findings put forward by a top-level roundtable, 'Antimicrobials – Who Needs Them', chaired by the sustainable farming research and development business, the Food Animal Initiative, and pharmaceutical company, Ceva.

Liz Truss to visit Somerset Levels

Somerset County Gazette:

6:00pm Thursday 24th July 2014

Newly-appointed Environment Secretary Liz Truss is to visit Somerset to check the progress of a massive dredging programme designed to reduce flooding problems on the Levels.

South West insurer issues warning on farm machinery fires

Somerset County Gazette: Fire crews tackle the burning combine harvester

10:00am Wednesday 23rd July 2014

South West insurance firm Cornish Mutual is issuing a warning to farmers as the hot weather causes an increase in farm machinery fires during intensive haymaking and harvesting work.

NFU welcomes Defra’s £400m food procurement plans

Somerset County Gazette:

9:00am Tuesday 22nd July 2014

The NFU is delighted to play its part in ensuring the public sector sources more British food, as the Government launched a new plan for driving more locally sourced food and drink into public procurement.

Call for ‘Growth Deal’ announcement to benefit rural economy

Somerset County Gazette:

12:00pm Monday 21st July 2014

The CLA has said Government allocations from the national growth pot must benefit all sections of the economy. The organisation said it welcomed the news that Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) will now have more money to benefit and grow the economy.

New beekeeping ‘Centre of Excellence’ officially opened

Somerset County Gazette:

9:10am Monday 21st July 2014

Taunton Beekeepers’ new centre of excellence at Bradford-on-Tone was officially opened by Taunton MP Jeremy Browne on Saturday July 19. Mr Browne, who champions the work of Taunton beekeepers, joined the President of the British Beekeepers’ Association, Dr David Aston, Somerset Beekeepers’ Chairman Jonathan Friend and local members at the new £83,000 building.

Open Farm Sunday a record breaker

Somerset County Gazette: The Leaf Open Farm Sunday was a huge success

1:00pm Saturday 19th July 2014

It is official - Open Farm Sunday 2014 was another record-breaking year, with 207,000 visitors, a 3 per cent increase on last year's numbers.

Family fun day for Helston store opening

Somerset County Gazette:

8:00am Saturday 19th July 2014

Cornwall Farmers’ new Patch & Acre store in Helston will be unveiled on Saturday July 26 2014 with a family fun day. Store manager, Mark Cole, will be joined by pupils from nearby St Michael’s Primary School in a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10.30am, declaring the revamped branch officially open.

NFU 'a spent force' says former Board Chairman

Somerset County Gazette:

9:30am Thursday 17th July 2014

The NFU’s approach to tackling the crisis in the beef sector has been condemned as a ‘fiasco’ by its former national livestock chairman. Devon farmer Richard Haddock says the union has adopted a pitifully weak stance in dealing with the issue - and he has now resigned from it as a result.

Banks issue fraud warning for businesses

Somerset County Gazette: Telephone scams are a problem in Dartford and Gravesend.

7:00am Thursday 17th July 2014

NatWest and RBS are warning businesses to be vigilant after a new twist on an old scam has seen businesses in the farming community lose hundreds of thousands of pounds so far this year.

British farmers hit out at Tesco’s failure to deliver on commitments

Somerset County Gazette: Meurig Raymond

5:00pm Tuesday 15th July 2014

NFU President, Meurig Raymond, has strongly criticised Tesco’s decision to heavily promote New Zealand lamb in the middle of the prime season for British lamb, given previous commitments that they have made.

Owen Paterson sacked as Environment Secretary

Somerset County Gazette: Owen Paterson

11:00am Tuesday 15th July 2014

OWEN Paterson has been sacked in the latest Cabinet reshuffle by David Cameron. His role as Environment Secretary has been taken by Liz Truss, (MP for south west Norfolk), after he had been in the post for less than two years.

CPA calls for transparency in findings by Task Force on Systemic Pesticides

Somerset County Gazette:

7:00am Monday 14th July 2014

The Crop Protection Association (CPA) has called on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to publish the findings of the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides (TFSP) so that their work can be subjected to appropriate levels of independent and objective scrutiny.

Audit report published on Defra's Payments Agency Accounts

Somerset County Gazette:

12:00pm Sunday 13th July 2014

Amyas Morse, the Comptroller and Auditor General, has for the first time since 2007-08 provided a clear audit opinion on the accounts of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

Gweek farming brothers fined for TB fraud and tag removal

Somerset County Gazette:

2:20pm Saturday 12th July 2014

Two farming brothers from Gweek have been fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,000 for offences relating to TB fraud and breaching cattle identification regulations designed to prevent the spread of disease.

NSA call for support for British lamb

Somerset County Gazette: Sunday joint: Roast lamb with fresh asparagus

6:00pm Friday 11th July 2014

With sheep farmers seeing a sudden drop in the price received for their prime lambs this week, the National Sheep Association (NSA) is reminding retailers and consumers that this is the best time of year to support and enjoy British lamb.

Government must act on flooding proposals, says CLA

Somerset County Gazette:

10:50am Thursday 10th July 2014

CLA President Henry Robinson has welcomed the Winter Floods report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, while urging the Government to take the action recommended to protect agricultural land from flooding.

Proposals to exempt certain self-employed people from health and safety law

Somerset County Gazette: Health and Safety Executive

7:00am Thursday 10th July 2014

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is inviting views on the proposed definitions of those self-employed people who will continue to have duties under health and safety law.

Video launched to help farmers create renewable fertiliser

Somerset County Gazette:

6:00pm Wednesday 9th July 2014

A new video has been launched which will help more farmers use anaerobic digestate as a renewable fertiliser. The video has been produced by WRAP and is free to use.

More homes are needed to sustain the countryside, says CLA

Somerset County Gazette: Councils to get £16m to boost house building

12:10pm Wednesday 9th July 2014

The CLA has backed a National Housing Federation (NHF) report on rural housing but urged for updates to the planning system to be given more time to take effect.

Calling all innovators in farming and growing: Soil Association launches second Innovation Awards

Somerset County Gazette:

10:00am Wednesday 9th July 2014

The Soil Association is delighted to announce that their Innovation Awards are open for nominations. Now in their second year, the awards showcase the most innovative approaches to sustainable, low-impact farming and growing.

CLA highlights sharing as key for future of farming

Somerset County Gazette:

11:00am Tuesday 8th July 2014

A wider uptake of share farming could enable thousands of young people to get their first foot on the farming ladder according to the CLA.

Syngenta withdraws controversial application for banned pesticide

Somerset County Gazette:

8:00am Tuesday 8th July 2014

Syngenta has withdrawn its controversial application to use a banned pesticide in the UK. The decision by global agribusiness follows campaigners warning that the chemical could have a devastating impact on threatened bee populations.

More farmers go online for SPS 2014

Somerset County Gazette:

8:00pm Monday 7th July 2014

More than 14,000 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) applicants in England have moved online in 2014, according to figures from the Rural Payment Agency (RPA)

Fatalities fall but cost of serious farm accidents continues to rise

Somerset County Gazette:

3:00pm Monday 7th July 2014

As The Health & Safety Executive announces a fall in fatalities on British farms, NFU Mutual, the UK’s leading rural insurer, is urging the farming community not to become complacent.






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