Every January well over a thousand people gather in Oxford to talk all things connected to food and farming, at the Oxford Farming Conference and the Oxford Real Farming Conference. For the first time I attended both conferences in an attempt to search for common ground and to see whether delegates would be interested in … Continue reading Meet the Farmers – episode 28 – ‘Searching for Common Ground at the Oxford Farming Conference and the Oxford Real Farming Conference’
Last week I visited Mark Hayward, a farmer in Suffolk who runs Dingley Dell Pork (watch this space for an upcoming podcast episode). I was particularly impressed by him and brother's drive and determination to improve the abundance of wildlife on their farm in real terms; ie not just engaging with Natural England led schemes but … Continue reading Does the Agriculture Bill actually mean anything?
Major agroforestry trials should be established during the EU withdrawal period according to a report launched today by the Woodland Trust and the Soil Association. The policy document, entitled “Agroforestry in England: Benefits, Barriers and Opportunities” also suggests that government support for farmer-led research and innovation networks seeking to integrate trees and agriculture should be trialled. … Continue reading New report suggests that trees on farms are essential to improve productivity and environmental protection post Brexit
Last week I attended an event organised by the Woodland Trust and hosted by Stephen Briggs at his farm in Cambridgeshire. The aim of the afternoon was partly to introduce farmers to the potential for using agroforestry on their farms, partly to discuss the Defra 'Health and Harmony' consultation document and partly to encourage delegates … Continue reading Woodland Trust event calls for farmers to respond to Defra Command Paper
I haven't made it to the NFU Conference this year, but thanks to the wonders of youtube I was at least able to catch outgoing NFU President Meurig Raymond's speech and Defra Secretary Michael Gove's speech (thanks @NFUtube!). You can of course read the full speech from the Secretary of State here. Here is a brief … Continue reading ‘Health, Beauty and Permanence’ – Reflections on Michael Gove’s NFU Conference speech
I've been stuck indoors today, struck down by flu yesterday. There are a lot of things going around at the moment, and I was being optimistic and hoping that I wouldn't catch anything this winter. Oh well! Hopefully I'm now over the worst of it but you never really can tell with these things. It … Continue reading The long awaited 25 Year Environment Plan
This special podcast episode was recorded at the Oxford Real Farming Conference last week. The podcast offers a flavour of this year's conference and includes interviews and short clips from sessions including the Q&A with Defra Secretary Michael Gove, led by Zac Goldsmith MP. Thank you to everybody who spoke to me including: Kath Dalmeny, Miles … Continue reading ‘Meet the Farmers’ – episode 13 – Oxford Real Farming Conference 2018
Last week the inaugural Henry Plumb Lecture took place at the Royal Society in London, during which Ivan Rogers, the former UK permanent representative to the European Union, spoke to farm leaders and other farming sector representatives about the negotiations and life after Brexit. To say that his words didn't foster much optimism is the … Continue reading ”No deal would be a very bad deal indeed”: some words on Brexit and Farmers.
England's green and pleasant land: a patchwork quilt of green and gold fields with quaint little villages nestled in between and ancient farms run by families who have worked the land for generations. Is this a true perspective of the English countryside? You and I know that this rose-tinted view is not the reality, nor … Continue reading One fifth of English farms have disappeared in past 10 years
Tomorrow, like every Friday, I will receive my regular Farmers Weekly through the post. Occasionally I get the time to read it cover to cover. Sometimes it takes me a couple of days. Mostly however I will dip in and out of the pages (as I do with other magazines and papers) as the week … Continue reading Farmers Weekly’s Philip Clarke says ‘the time has come for farmers to speak up’.