Today's news - 21 January 2013
“Now's the time to be holding on to our green and pleasant virtue;
there's a whole lot to lose and not much to be gained by blowing it on one big night out with the likes of Monsanto.”
Neale McQuistin, upland beef and sheep farmer in South West Scotland
Farmers Weekly (20 Jan)
New Report shows growth potential for UK food co-ops and buying groups
A new report from the Soil Association highlights the growth potential of food co-ops and buying groups to support access to affordable, ethical and sustainable produce. The report produced at the end of the Making Local Food Work, Big Lottery funded programme revealed over 400 enterprises were supported by the initiative with many opportunities for development across the UK.
YourSourceToday (18 Jan)
Read the full press release here
Organic farming may 'do more environmental harm than good'
Tim Benton, the UK's global food security champion, said organic farms usually helped improve biodiversity and delivered other environmental goods locally and nationally. But he said reduced yields in organic systems meant that land elsewhere had to be cultivated to make up the food shortfall, often at a greater environmental cost. Featuring comment from Soil Association innovation director, Tom MacMillan.
Farmers Weekly (18 Jan)
Are we kidding ourselves on... food waste?
Urgent action is needed to stop half of all food ending up as waste, warns a report - so it can help feed a world population set to reach nine billion people by 2050. Featuring Emma Hockridge from the Soil Association.
Farmers Weekly (17 Jan)
Minister hails benefit of GM crops
In his first major speech since taking over as environment secretary at Defra, Owen Paterson has emphasised his support for GM crops. Featuring comment from Tom MacMillan
Horticulture Week (18 Jan) (subscription needed)
The Soil Association's Position on GM
GMs threaten our green and pleasant land
DEFRA secretary Owen Paterson lost no time in throwing his full weight behind GM foods at the recent Oxford Farming conference. I wouldn't be so confident that the commercial growing of GM is right for the UK at present. Featuring comment from the Soil Association’s Richard Young.
Farmers Weekly (20 Jan)
Read the Soil Association's position on antibiotics
Debate over MRSA threat on UK farms
A UK vet has raised concern over a claim made by the Soil Association that the “superbug” MRSA ST398 has been found on UK farms.
Meat Trades Journal (14 Jan)
Farming under debate in House of Commons
Food, farming and the environment were under debate in the House of Commons yesterday. The debate was only the second on farming in six years. It covered many of the issues affecting livestock farming including TB, EID, cost sharing, bluetongue vaccination, labelling, the environment, fallen stock, food security, recruitment and training, regulation and procurement.
Meat Trades Journal (19 Jan)
Read the full comment here
In defence of neonicotinoids
A BAN on neonicotinoid seed treatments could cost EU countries €4.5bn annually and cause a reduction in some crop yields, it has been claimed. The chemical's future is under scrutiny as a result of some scientists blaming it for the decline in honeybees. Several EU member states have already imposed unilateral bans as a result. Featuring comment from the Soil Association’s Peter Melchett.
The Scottish Farmer (17 Jan)
Keep Britain Buzzing campaign
Organic farming crucial to food security, addressing climate change
As the world begins to wrestle with rising food insecurity associated with climate change, a report from Worldwatch points to the crucial role organic farming plays.
SustainableBusiness.com (18 Jan)
Organic farmers push for day in court against Monsanto
Seed farmers came before a U.S. federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C., Thursday, Jan. 10 in a case that could have major implications for how growers interact with agriculture company Monsanto.
FreshFruitPortal.com (21 Jan)
Cuts to abattoir meat checks 'will be the next food scandal'
Move to pare back independent inspections could lead to contamination risks 'far worse than horsemeat', union warns
The Guardian (19 Jan)
Katie Holmes invests in organic hair care company
Actress Katie Holmes has signed up as a spokes model for an organic hair care company after investing in the brand.
Express.co.uk (19 Jan)
Christine Tacon appointed as first groceries code adjudicator
Christine Tacon, who ran the Co-operative Group’s farming business for 11 years, has been appointed as the first Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA).
Farmers Guardian (21 Jan)
The fight for farmland - Charlotte Smith hears how high demand is pushing up prices.
BBC Radio 4 (21 Jan)
And Finally…. A farming project tackles cloud forest deforestation – in pictures
The Guardian (17 Jan)