Archive Article: 2001/11/23

23 November 2001

No need for sheep aid reform frustration

Failure by EU farm ministers to agree a reform of the sheep support system this week was as frustrating as it was unnecessary.

With just six weeks to go to the start of the new sheep marketing year it leaves producers facing continued uncertainty.

The arguments in Brussels this week centred on money, with some member states saying the k-equivalent of £13.50 on offer from the commission was too little, others saying it was too much.

The fact is, sheep producers need more than that to make their businesses viable again, something that was recognised by the Irish and Spanish ministers, though, predictably, not by the UKs.

Despite the frustration, no deal is better than a bad deal.

Youngsters convention was a real tonic

It was just what everyone needed; after the disruption of local events and the cancellation of its annual convention in May, Young Farmers Clubs from around England and Wales gathered in Torquay last weekend.

It was a chance to get together, swap news and views, debate the future and have some fun. And in true Young Farmers style, they sure did have some fun.

It was a chance, also, for young people to catch up with old friends, make some new ones and forget – even if only for a few days – some of agricultures woes.

Opinions on farming, like the weather, were mixed. But there was one thing on which everyone agreed – after the trauma of foot-and-mouth, this weekend was just the tonic people needed.

Restocking for most an impossible task

DEFRA has approved restocking on some farms in the areas worst affected by foot-and-mouth. Or has it?

Many farms have been signed off by vets after cleansing and disinfection. But without allowing cattle to move into counties, such as Cumbria, which saw 1.14m animals culled, restocking for most is impossible. Replacing stock will need animals to be drafted in from across the country.

Moving stock around without F&M precautions would still be unwise. But DEFRA should allow movement into those hard hit areas as soon as possible. Only then will farmers be able to source high genetic merit stock, with good health status, at a reasonable price.

AgriVisions a chance to catch up on info

Have you missed the absence of the agricultural shows and technical events this season?

Many feel they provide the ideal occasion to get away from the farm and to exchange ideas with friends or industry experts.

But there is a chance to catch up on the information essential to the health of your farm business at next months AgriVision event. Organised by the RASE at the NAC, Stoneleigh, on Dec 5 and 6, it will provide an ideal environment to give the future direction of your farm some serious thought.

Action needed to check glyphosate resistance

The total herbicide glyphosate has long offered a powerful, low-cost way of combating troublesome weeds.

So, the inexorable rise of resistant weeds is cause for concern.

The intensive use of glyphosate, much of it in genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops, has led to at least six outbreaks of resistant weeds around the world.

Selection pressure is rising in Europe too, as the herbicide becomes increasingly popular.

Manufacturers should act to protect this important herbicide. Better guidance on how growers can use the product to prevent resistance developing is needed urgently.

Farm Stay UK shows impact of pooled effort

Pooling resources can create real market impact.

For proof look no further than Farm Stay UK, previously known as the Farm Holiday Bureau. This group, started with the help of farmers weekly back in 1983, has weathered one of the worst years for farm holidays in living memory and come out triumphant.

Not only has it won the Tourism Society Award for its contribution to the development of UK tourism, it has also produced a great full-colour holiday brochure. The brochure has so impressed the British Tourist Authority that it has paid for 5500 copies to be distributed abroad.

No wonder Farm Stays Nigel Embry is full of confidence for next year, as Farmlife explains.

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