21 December 2001

2001 REVIEW

Most farmers will want to forget 2001 as the worst in living memory. Despite foot-and-mouth, it wasnt all bad news. FW recalls the main events

JANUARY

Farm minister Nick Brown snubs Oxford Farming Conference by choosing to address Organic Conference instead.

FARMERS WEEKLY and Horse&Hound present 10,500 pledges of support for the Hands Off Hunting, Mr Blair campaign.

NFU announces intention to run public relations campaign aimed at MPs to improve farming industrys image.

FEBRUARY

Farmers for Action resume protests outside Dairy Crest and Unigate plants in bid to raise milk prices.

Government vets spot foot-and-mouth disease in a batch of pigs delivered to Cheale Meats abattoir in Essex.

Exports and all animal livestock movements are banned as officials try to track down the source of the disease.

MARCH

The number of F&M outbreaks escalates forcing ministers to take draconian step of introducing contiguous culling policy.

Countryside Alliance counts cost of cancelling the Countryside March which was due to take place in London in March.

Cluster of Creuzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD) cases in Leicestershire blamed on traditional butchery methods.

APRIL

The death toll of animals slaughtered as a result of F&M controls passes 2 million but the NFU warns Tony Blair farmers will revolt if vaccination introduced.

Farm organisations call for the government to set up an enforcement body to tackle the problem of illegal meat imports.

A FARMERS WEEKLY survey reveals one third of farmers hit by F&M are planning to quit or scale down their businesses.

MAY

Deputy prime minister John Prescott punches a Welsh farmworker while on the campaign trail for the General Election.

A second wave of F&M hits Northern England.

Battles continue between farmers and government officials who insist stock must be culled even though they appear healthy.

JUNE

Labour wins unprecedented second term in office and immediately disbands MAFF.

New DEFRA minister Margaret Beckett says farmers concerns will not dominate her vision for rural Britain.

DEFRA accused of deliberately concealing the true number of animals slaughtered in battle to control F&M.

JULY

The wet autumn leads experts to predict the 2001 wheat harvest will be a record low at just 13 million tonnes.

Farmers suffer in the media when Tony Blair suggests clean-up operation costs are "unacceptable"

Prince Charles, who also donated £500,000 to farm charities, urges big business to help revitalise rural Britain

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AUGUST

Margaret Beckett cuts short her holiday to

announce there will be two inquiries into F&M and a policy commission on the future of food and farming.

British agriculture takes a step towards normality as Scotland holds its first livestock market for six months.

Civil servants start strike action over pay and conditions which leads to delays in farmers receiving their support payments.

SEPTEMBER

Government introduces new arrangements for autumn livestock movements based on the disease status of individual counties.

Foot-and-mouth disease looks to be under control with cases halting after one on September 30.

DEFRA secretary Margaret Beckett warns urgent and radical changes are on the way for the farming industry.

OCTOBER

Rural recovery co-ordinator Lord Haskins recommends government should buy sheep quota from farmers.

Officials discover scientists have tested cattle brains instead of sheep brains as part of their research into whether there is BSE in the national sheep flock.

EU vets give the go-ahead for beef exports from GB counties that have had no cases of F&M to resume.

NOVEMBER

Battle brews over governments proposed Animal Health Bill.

Young farmers descend on Torquay for a "Wild Winter Weekend" which replaced the normal spring AGM.

The "White Stuff" campaign, which has boosted sales by about 60 million litres in 18 months, is voted Best Dairy Marketing Campaign in the World.

DECEMBER

Experts say farm crisis has finally bottomed out after government forecasts rise in farm incomes.

The "lessons to be learned" inquiry into F&M, chaired by Dr Iain Anderson, is formally launched.

Rural "rebels" in Scotland hold a week of protests in Edinburgh including a march about the governments handling of F&M.

land reform and hunting.