Agriculture in the national news - August 16

A DAILY look at how agriculture has caught the headlines across the country (Monday, August 16).

Call to improve rural freedoms

The countryside risks turning into a combination of a “dormitory, theme park and retirement home” without action to ensure rural communities can thrive, it has been warned.

A coalition of groups is calling on the Government to take steps to ensure rural areas can meet housing needs, build local economies, deliver services, and create flourishing market towns.


Investigation into alleged illegal supply of dairy workers

Gangmasters Licensing Authority questions farmers who were using unlicensed agency to provide dairymen

A criminal investigation into the alleged illegal supply of workers to dairy farms around the country is sending shockwaves through the milk industry.

More than 40 farms have been caught up in the investigation launched by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority earlier this year.

The Guardian

Farmers face losing thousands of pounds in environmental subsidies

Farmers face losing thousands of pounds in public subsidies for protecting Britain’s wildlife.

Cuts to a scheme which rewards farmers who encourage biodiversity are being proposed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which is expected to have to slash up to 40 per cent from its budget by 2014.

A senior Government source said that the Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) subsidy, which is paid to thousands of farmers, faced being scaled back.

Daily Telegraph

Russia ban on grain export begins

Russia has imposed a ban on grain exports until the end of the year, after a severe drought and a spate of wildfires devastated crops.

Russia is one of the world’s biggest producers of wheat, barley and rye, and the ban is likely to see bread prices rise in places like the Middle East.

BBC Online

Russia to keep grain export ban, reap less in 2011

A ban on Russian grain exports, designed to restrain domestic food prices because of a severe drought, will not be lifted earlier than its December 31 expiry, First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said on Friday.

This is the latest twist in the ban saga, which started after the Russian unit of commodities trader Glencore asked the government to impose a ban for 4-6 weeks from September.


Renewable energy is the cash crop of the future for British farmers

There’s a new beast on the loose in the countryside.

Visitors are stalking Britain’s rural communities in unsuitable footwear, offering farmers the deal of a lifetime. They’re not pushing a wonder fertilizer or trying to side-step their local farmers’ market in the hunt for a new superfood, but offering help to cash in on the new gold rush - solar power.

Daily Telegraph

Extreme weather plagues farming, talks flounder

Global wheat markets reeling from Russian droughts, thousands of cattle killed by heat in Kansas, and countless crop acres wiped out by floods in Pakistan are glimpses of what can be expected as the world struggles to battle climate change.

But as concerns mount over extreme weather hitting global food systems this year, governments are no closer to forging a pact to fight climate change.


Wheat rally will not lure China, India to dump stocks

Fears of food inflation and tighter global supply make China and India, holders of nearly half the world’s wheat reserves, reluctant to send large volumes to market despite surging prices that offer a huge opportunity.

The world’s most populous nations, China and India are estimated to finish the 2010/11 crop year with a combined stockpile of around 78 million tonnes, 44 percent of the world total of 175 million, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says.


With no help from the Coaltion, country folk are doing it for themselves

An age-old community spirit is coming in handy for many villages facing savage cuts, says Clive Aslet.

Chill winds are blowing in the countryside, and they’re nothing to do with the autumnal weather. For 13 years, activists have been telling the world that Labour had no sympathy for the rural population – indeed, viewed it, in some cases, with malevolence. Now they are realising that things weren’t so bad after all.

Daily Telegraph

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