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
BY PAUL READ & NIGEL BEAN There was an article in The Guardian recently titled “Can Britain’s butchers survive the vegan boom?”. The headline was a little misleading, but they very often are. It did raise some interesting points though, one of which is the noticeable decline in butchers’ shops in recent times – something many people will have noticed. In the article some put … Continue reading Farms, Food & Fanatics
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
BY DAVID EYLES In his book Feral , George Monbiot outlines his ideas for the environmental transformation of the British uplands – from open sheep grazed pastures to wooded hillsides. He argues that this will considerably enhance biodiversity. Furthermore, that the release of large predators such as Lynx, Wolves and Wild Boar, will amount to a restoration of keystone species that will bring about an enormous ecological improvement … Continue reading The Ecology of Our Uplands
BY BEN EAGLE It has been a funny old year. A few months ago the Beast from the East gripped the country with snow and icy weather unlike any I have seen in my lifetime, rivalling the winters of old described by older generations. Jumping ahead to today, in the current weather context we haven’t seen any rain here in Essex for 53 days. Further, … Continue reading Keep Calm and Carry On
BY BEN EAGLE As a nation we pride ourselves in aspiring to produce food that is of high quality and we hold animal welfare standards in similarly high regard. Post Brexit all the rhetoric coming out of Defra at the moment suggests that Brand Britannia Farming will be focused as much as possible on producing high welfare, high quality food that has minimal impact on … Continue reading Do You Trust The Tractor?
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
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?
BY BEN EAGLE I admit it, I’m a Gove convert. However, when he was appointed to his role as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the Cabinet reshuffle of June last year I took a big gulp and expected the worst. I was highly sceptical, looking back on his history in the Department for Education and his status as a Leave … Continue reading Converting to Gove