Sheep Farming & No Deal

BY BEN EAGLE It is looking increasingly likely that Britain will be crashing out of the EU without a deal. Whilst I don’t condone the recent words of Donald Tusk condemning leading Brexiteers, as somebody trying to look to the future in farming I cannot pretend that part of me wanted to thank him for saying it. Brexit has unleashed uncertainty in all sectors but … Continue reading Sheep Farming & No Deal

We Need Stability at DEFRA

BY BEN EAGLE It was with a sigh of relief that I learned that Michael Gove was not moving to the Department for Exiting the European Union last week. Quite understandably most people were probably focused on the destination rather than the starting line. However, my eyes, as usual, were pointing towards Defra. The last thing that food, farming and the environment needs at this … Continue reading We Need Stability at DEFRA

The Wood

BY BEN EAGLE Striding along the cow-parsley avenue my mind wanders, escaping the everyday. Jess the spaniel jumps among the sheaves of wheat in the field adjacent and I call her to my side. She initially ignores the demand, as usual, and then sprints towards me, over-passing on the path. I am sauntering towards the wood which lies just a few hundred metres from where … Continue reading The Wood

Emerging Farm Labour Crisis

BY BEN EAGLE How confident are you that British workers will embrace the fields and step into the shoes of the growing number of European migrant workers who are choosing to work in countries such as France or Germany instead of the UK? Personally, my confidence levels are low. The early indicators suggest that Britain is facing a labour crisis and there needs to be … Continue reading Emerging Farm Labour Crisis

The End of Direct Payments?

BY BEN EAGLE Anybody involved in British agriculture should have accepted by now that the days for direct payments based on land area are limited in number. Instead we will be embracing a system of ‘public payments for public goods’, whatever that means. Although Michael Gove has in recent weeks offered a trickle of potential policy changes and words of general direction, there has been … Continue reading The End of Direct Payments?

Time For GCSE Agriculture?

BY BEN EAGLE The call for an agriculture GCSE has entered public discussion once again as Conservative MP for York Outer, Julian Sturdy, called for the introduction of a GCSE in agriculture for schools in England and Wales. He hopes that this would encourage more young people to enter the agricultural sector as well as improve their awareness of food, farming and environmental issues. The … Continue reading Time For GCSE Agriculture?

Sea Buckthorn: Britain’s Secret Superfruit

BY BEN EAGLE Normally I write about general countryside or farming issues for Country Squire Magazine but, this time, the editors asked me to write about something that has become surprisingly significant for my family’s farm on the Essex coast. Almost all farms have diversified to a certain extent in recent years and our farm is certainly no exception, with lots of diversified enterprises going … Continue reading Sea Buckthorn: Britain’s Secret Superfruit