6 July 2001


&#8226 NOTEPAPER and signs for the new Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have cost almost £50,000, it has emerged. DEFRA minister, Margaret Beckett, revealed the costs in answer to a written parliamentary question. The biggest bill has been for printing, which has reached nearly £22,000. The production of signs and graphic panels has cost another £19,560.

lTHE National Rural Enterprise Centre, part of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, is to break away and form its own independent charity. Both organisations are keen to stress that it is an amicable parting of the ways. The NREC is involved in a range of projects supporting rural communities and businesses. &#42

FARMERS and growers in East Anglia are being invited to enter a new award designed to highlight how they are using water responsibly. The NFU has set up a category for agriculture and horticulture in the Water Efficiency Awards organised by the Environment Agency and Water UK. Full details of the award, which is open to everyone, are available from the NFUs Regional Office on 01638-672125. The closing date is July 20.

A NEW scheme in Lincolnshire designed to help people who have been forced out of farming find a new job is being piloted by the Country Land and Business Association. The course will cover a range of job hunting skills, including identifying strengths, preparation of CVs, writing application letters and interview techniques. The scheme is largely being funded through the governments Individual Learning Accounts and is open to anyone from the agricultural sector.

ENVIRONMENT Agency officials are warning farmers that they need to take extra care over the summer not to pollute waterways and rivers. The agency is worried that a prolonged dry spell will cause river levels to drop and water temperatures rise which can lead to pollution problems. The reduction in water to dilute pollutants means discharges of farm effluents, sewage or spillage from industrial sites can have a particularly devastating effect.

SCRAPIE compensation for sheep slaughtered in July will continue to be £28.95 if the disease is confirmed at post-mortem and a maximum of £400 for suspects where scrapie is not confirmed. BSE compensation for cattle slaughtered in July will be up to £561 if the disease is confirmed at post-mortem and a maximum of £701.25 for suspects where BSE is not confirmed.

THE Advisory Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs has recommended the Food Standards Agency should review whether farmers could be misled by terms in the description of feed materials. The committee has also said that while it supports the principle of transparency with regard to GM labelling, the government should remember the practical difficulties of assuring traceability and labelling of all animal feed materials.

NFU CallFirst, the unions call centre based at Uppingham, Rutland, reached an important milestone this week when it received the 100,000th call since its launch in October 1999. The service offers NFU members a single number to ring for help on any conceivable problem. Advice is available on legal and employment issues, taxation and business problems.

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