Rural Payments Agency moves away from higher-rate phone number

Somerset County Gazette:

10:00am Tuesday 16th September 2014

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is switching from its 0845 telephone number prefix to 0345 as part of a government-wide approach to move away from higher-rate numbers.

Former Cannington College students hold reunion

Somerset County Gazette:

7:00pm Monday 15th September 2014

Agriculture students from former Cannington College, (now part of Bridgwater College’s Cannington Centre), recently held a thirty-year reunion in Wellington.

The Prince's Countryside Fund now open for applications

Somerset County Gazette:

3:00pm Monday 15th September 2014

The Prince's Countryside Fund provides funding towards projects operating in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland that clearly contribute towards one or more of The Prince’s Countryside Fund's objectives. It is now open for applications but be quick because applications need to be in by October 23 2014 We want our funding to have a long-term positive effect on rural communities, helping those that live and work there sustain the countryside, by tackling key rural issues.

Animal ban for St Ives llama farmers after offences reported again 'within days' of first trial

Somerset County Gazette: Llamas and geese recruited in fight against crime in Sussex

12:02pm Thursday 11th September 2014

A couple who kept llamas on a farm near St Ives have been fined and banned from keeping animals after failing to care for them.

Badger culling starts for second year in South West

Somerset County Gazette: Cotswolds parliamentary candidate hits out at badger cull plans

12:03pm Tuesday 9th September 2014

Badger culling has started for a second year in the South West, prompting renewed calls from opponents for the controversial policy to be abandoned.

UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Tributes paid to man who died in farm tragedy

Somerset County Gazette:

12:50am Saturday 6th September 2014

TRIBUTES have been paid to the 50-year-old farm worker who died in a horrific accident that has “rocked the community.”

Care Farming Report Shows Need For Support

Somerset County Gazette: The sheep flock at Windsor Farm is predominately Suffolk-cross Mules and Welsh Mules. ..PICTURE: Debbie James.... (8675470)

9:07am Friday 5th September 2014

Care farming could be a significant supplier of health, social and educational services in the UK if its potential is fully exploited, according to new research.

New code on sky lanterns doesn't go far enough

Somerset County Gazette:

8:00am Thursday 4th September 2014

The new code of practice on Sky Lanterns doesn’t go far enough, say event organisers who are calling for a national ban. The National Outdoor Events Association has already branded Sky Lanterns as dangerous to the public, livestock and buildings.

Fall in farm incomes is only half of the story says rural accountant

4:17pm Wednesday 3rd September 2014

Farm business incomes fell by 30% in 2012/13, according to the latest government figures – but that is only part of the story, says Andrew Vickery, head of Rural Services at Old Mill accountants.

Sheep Health and Welfare Conference 2014

Somerset County Gazette:

6:00am Wednesday 3rd September 2014

Cutting edge practical information, plenty of content from producers working in the field and interactive sessions to ensure delegates get their views across. That is the promise from organisers of the 2014 Sheep Health and Welfare Conference, designed for people running sheep enterprises of all sizes, large and small, on Wednesday 26th November at Yarnfield Park Conference Centre, Stone, Staffordshire.

Farmer furious after police kill prize £5,000 bull which was "not a danger to anyone"

Somerset County Gazette: BILLY BULL: Philip Marley with his bull lying where it was shot by police. Picture: STUART BOULTON.

12:02am Wednesday 3rd September 2014

A FURIOUS farmer has made an official complaint to North Yorkshire police after armed officers shot his prize bull.

Somerset honey show on the move

Somerset County Gazette: The European bumblebee has stronger resistance to parasite infections

7:00am Tuesday 2nd September 2014

For the first time this year’s Somerset Honey Show will be held at Long Sutton Village Hall near Langport on Saturday, September 20. The historic show, which dates back to 1885, will attract beekeepers from all over the county competing in 52 classes for the best honey, hive products and honey cookery.

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.






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