Today's news - 04 February 2013
“Our new research fund, centres on challenges in sustainable production put forward directly by farmers, ranging from tackling weeds that dog low-input systems to advancing techniques for pasture cropping – drilling the next season’s crops directly into the clovers and other plants that build fertility in a rotation.”
Soil Association director of innovation, Tom Macmillan
Food Security.ac.uk (4 Feb)
Food producers: experts in their fields
Two new schemes from the Soil Association aim to put farmers at the forefront of research. Soil Association director of innovation Tom MacMillan reports.
Food Security.ac.uk (4 Feb)
Find out about the Future Growers apprenticeship scheme
More on the Soil Association’s Research fund
Genetic changes to food may get uniform labelling in the US
With Washington State on the verge of a ballot initiative that would require labelling of some foods containing genetically engineered ingredients and other states considering similar measures, some of the major food companies and Wal-Mart, the country’s largest grocery store operator, have been discussing lobbying for a national labelling program.
New York Times (31 Jan)
The Soil Association’s position on GM
After 30 years, is a GM food breakthrough finally here?
Scientists say they have seen the future of genetically modified foods and have concluded that it is orange or, more precisely, golden. In a few months, golden rice – normal rice that has been genetically modified to provide vitamin A to counter blindness and other diseases in children in the developing world – will be given to farmers in the Philippines for planting in paddy fields.
The Observer (2 Feb)
It is hard to trust GM when it is in the grip of a few global giants
Don't believe the hype: GM is in the grip of a few firms that profit from selling the chemicals they engineer their seeds to resist.
The Observer (3 Feb)
Fears over future of lamb farming as prices fall and imports soar
Farmers say they are paid so little for their meat that many will be forced out of the industry.
The Guardian (3 Feb)
Hard-up Britain finds organic food prices unpalatable
In Europe the organic market is growing, but the same isn’t happening in the UK.
The Times (2 Feb)
Soil Association response: We are confident there is a strong future for the organic market despite the current economic downturn. One of the main challenges has been turning the market around and we believe this has happened. 2012 market figures indicate positive growth in a number of areas such as online sales and box schemes and we also know organic consumer demographics are changing. Younger buyers now contribute to large proportion of sales and by definition this shift means there is a strong future in the market.
Egg producers call on major retailers to abandon Non-GM rule
Roger Gent, chairman of the largest association of free range egg producers, the British Free Range Egg Producers' Association (BFREPA), is calling on major retailers to abandon the requirement for egg producers to use only Non GM feed.
Farminguk.com (1 Feb)
UK courting antibiotic-resistant diseases
Infectious diseases could again become major killers, with routine surgery, cancer treatment and care for premature babies becoming fraught with difficulties and fatalities and modern medicine thrown back to the pre-penicillin era. Developing resistance to antibiotics coupled with a dearth of new antibiotics becoming available could well spell disaster in the next few decades. With comment from Soil Association’s Coilin Nunan.
Weekly Zaman (2 Feb)
The Soil Association’s position on antibiotics
Glyphosate-resistant weed problem extends to more species, more farms
The area of U.S. cropland infested with glyphosate-resistant weeds has expanded to 61.2 million acres in 2012, according to a survey conducted by Stratus Agri-Marketing.
Farm Industry News (29 Jan)
England's forests will be protected by new public body
England's public forests will be held in trust for future generations by a new and independent body, the government said on Thursday, after its embarrassing U-turn in 2011 on plans to sell off the nationally owned estate.
The Guardian (31 Jan)
Neonicotinoid ban could be 'catastrophic' for UK farming
EU moves to ban certain pesticides due to their impact on bee populations could have a potentially ‘catastrophic’ impact on the farming industry, according to experts.
Farmers Guardian (1 Feb)
Our response to the EU recommendations
Find out about the Keep Britain Buzzing campaign
Bayer slams 'draconian' EU plan to ban neonicotinoids
The European Commission has called for a two-year ban on all uses of neonicotinoid products in crops considered dangerous to honey bee health.
Farmers Weekly (1 Feb)
Neonicotinoid critics welcome plans for two year ban
Critics of neonicotinoids have welcomed EU proposals to ban pesticides which contain the chemicals, for two years.
Farmers Guardian (1 Feb)
The rural view of high speed rail - a blight on the landscape or an engine of growth? Julie Mills from Greengauge 21 puts the case for HS2 to Charlotte Smith, and Farming Today visits one Staffordshire farmer whose farm is set to be split in two by the new route.
BBC Radio 4 (4 Feb)
And Finally… 8 animals thought to predict the weather
Mother Nature Network (4 Feb)