theguardian.com | Farming

Source public sector food from UK post-Brexit, farmers say

3 months 1 week ago

NHS, schools, government and other services should use UK ingredients for food wherever possible, according to proposals

Food procured for Britain’s public sector after Brexit should be sourced from the UK wherever possible, the biggest farming organisation has said.

Promised sweeping reforms of food and farming have been cast by ministers as a flagship policy that will unlock some of the biggest potential benefits from Brexit. But farmers fear they will lose the £3bn-a-year taxpayer subsidy they enjoy under EU rules and be hamstrung by subsidised competition from Europe.

Related: Brexit must not lead to fall in farming standards, warns NFU

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Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent

Humanity Dick and the meat industry | Letters

3 months 1 week ago

Mike Harding on Richard Martin, who pushed the Cruel and Improper Treatment of Cattle Act through parliament in 1822, and Robin Russell-Jones on how our love of meat is helping to drive other mammals to extinction

“Humanity Dick” (real name Richard Martin), who got the Cruel and Improper Treatment of Cattle Act that you mention in your briefing (What is the true cost of meat?, 7 May) passed in 1822, was the owner of Ballynahinch Castle in Connemara.

In the middle of Ballynahinch Lough there is a small island; Humanity Dick used to have anybody he found mistreating animals rowed out there and marooned until they repented of their crimes. He was particularly hard on anybody who mistreated donkeys it seems.

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Letters

Coalition and Labor strike deal over Murray-Darling basin plan

3 months 1 week ago

Labor decides not to back Greens’ motion, instead coming to an agreement with Coalition to keep plan intact
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Proposed amendments to the Murray-Darling basin plan that will substitute water efficiency projects instead of buying back 605GL of water look set to survive a challenge in the Senate.

Labor has decided not to support a disallowance motion that the Greens planned to move on Tuesday after striking a deal with the government.

Instead of delivering more water for the Murray, Labor has teamed up with the Turnbull government.

The Murray Darling Basin Plan will be delivered after we struck a deal with Labor. This will give 2-million Australians living in the Basin certainty which they haven't had for 6 years, giving them confidence to invest in their communities and businesses. https://t.co/LIeMjHm1Ej pic.twitter.com/mkoa4LwKu2

Related: Impending blight: how Statoil's plans threaten the Great Australian Bight

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Anne Davies

What is the true cost of eating meat?

3 months 1 week ago

As concerns over the huge impact on the environment, human health and animal welfare grow, what future is there for the meat industry, asks Bibi van der Zee

What are the economics of meat?

Food and farming is one of the biggest economic sectors in the world. We are no longer in the 14th century, when as much as 76% of the population worked in agriculture – but farming still employs more than 26% of all workers globally. And that does not include the people who work along the meat supply chain: the slaughterers, packagers, retailers and chefs.

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Bibi van der Zee

Queensland passes land-clearing laws after gruelling three-day debate

3 months 1 week ago

Environmental groups hail restrictions as step towards curbing deforestation

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The Queensland parliament has passed a suite of new land-clearing laws, a move welcomed by environmental groups as a step towards curbing the state’s soaring deforestation rates.

The laws were passed late on Thursday night after an exhausting three-day debate and fierce protests outside parliament from farmers who say the new restrictions will harm Queensland’s agricultural industry.

Related: Loopholes in Queensland's new land-clearing laws 'would allow broadscale razing'

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Ben Smee

Asda-Sainsbury's merger: MPs fear squeeze on suppliers

3 months 1 week ago

Politicians call for watchdog to gauge affects of deal, saying it should not hurt suppliers

MPs from two parliamentary committees have called on the competition regulator to examine how the merger of Sainsbury’s and Asda will affect suppliers.

The merger of the UK’s second- and third-largest supermarket chains could hand them control of about 30% of the grocery sales, a similar level to Tesco, meaning two businesses would account for 60% of the market in future.

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Sarah Butler

Badger cull policing cost £800,000 in one county

3 months 2 weeks ago

Opponents of cull say cost of £1,000 per animal killed means it is wasteful as well as cruel

The cost of policing the controversial badger cull in just one of the 21 zones last autumn approached the £1m mark – the equivalent of more than £1,000 for every animal killed there.

Objectors to the cull described the bill for Cheshire as a horrendous waste of public money and called for the policy to be scrapped on economic as well as animal cruelty grounds.

Related: Country diary: concrete threat to badger lifted for now

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Steven Morris

The new food: meet the startups racing to reinvent the meal

3 months 2 weeks ago

Lab-grown meat and food-tech companies in the US are showing that applying science to what we eat can save the world and make money

“If you make food that tastes really good, you win,” says Josh Tetrick, with a smile. And winning is crucial, he says, with his company Just in the vanguard of a new sector with an ambitious mission: to use cutting-edge technologies to create food that will take down the meat and dairy industries.

The scope is huge: growing meat in labs, producing creamy scrambled “eggs” from mung beans, or making fish that has never swum in water, or cow’s milk brewed from yeast. The drive is to lessen the colossal environmental damage wrought by industrial farming, from its vast carbon emissions to water pollution and disease.

Related: Animals farmed: join us for monthly updates

The potential “yuk factor” of tech-created food hangs heavy over the embryonic sector.

We need to use every tool at our disposal to deal with this environmental catastrophe.

We want to hear from people working in the farming and food production industry around the world as we begin a new investigative series.

Related: Oceans suffocating as huge dead zones quadruple since 1950, scientists warn

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Damian Carrington in San Francisco

Health warning as toxic hairy caterpillars take over woodlands

3 months 2 weeks ago
Forestry Commission reports invasion of oak processionary moths in south-east England

An infestation of caterpillars that can trigger asthma attacks, vomiting and skin rashes has appeared in south-east England.

Oak processionary moths, in their larval stage now, have been spotted in areas that include Croydon, Twickenham, Epping Forest, Watford, Ealing and several London suburbs. Other infestations have been spotted in Bracknell Forest, Slough and Guildford.

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Robin McKie Science Editor

Love in the Countryside: the udder side of TV dating

3 months 2 weeks ago

Hoping to find love for a selection of beef farmers, equine vets and beyond, this polite reality show seeks out romance in rural Britain

“Cows are probably better behaved than women, aren’t they?” smirks 52-year-old divorcee Pete, his arm resting louchely on a gatepost. The owner of a 350-acre dairy farm in Yorkshire, Pete has been single for seven years and is “hoping to [find] somebody who’s tall, slim and attractive because that’s the type of ladies I go for”. His solo status, he assures us, is down to his rigorous early-morning milking schedule. Of course it is, Pete. Bulging udders wait for no man.

A country dweller whose four-legged charges just aren’t providing the required companionship, Pete’s quest for romance is one of eight charted in Love in the Countryside, a dating show notable for its big-heartedness and absence of snark. It is presented by Sara Cox, a one-time farmer’s daughter who absconded to the city and thus understands the gulf between town and country living. Farming is a round-the-clock job and finding a partner can be tough in a place where sheep outnumber humans 100 to one.

Related: Fatberg Autopsy - getting to the bottom of London’s dirty secrets

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Fiona Sturges

Rare breed: goat farming one of few jobs where women earn more than men

3 months 2 weeks ago

Analysis shows women outearned men in only 107 occupations in 2015-16, compared with 1,072 where men earned more

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Julie Cameron owns Victoria’s largest and most successful goat dairy, Meredith Dairy, with her husband Sandy.

She does not earn markedly more than him. In fact, she says, they are careful to ensure that all their 130 employees receive equal work for equal pay.

Related: Number of Australians who earned more than $1m a year yet paid no tax surges 30%

Related: Australia's gender pay gap: why do women still earn less than men?

Related: Australian women facing grim retirement due to gender pay gap

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Calla Wahlquist

Meat is crucial to balanced diet, Michael Gove tells farmers

3 months 2 weeks ago

Environment secretary’s vision for UK agriculture post-Brexit sees farmers playing a vital role in improving public health

Meat is a crucial part of a balanced diet, the environment secretary has said, as he told farmers about his “health and harmony” vision for food.

Michael Gove’s new vision for British agriculture post-Brexit envisages farmers playing a critical role in improving public health.

Related: ‘Cows carry flesh, but they carry personality too’: the hard lessons of farming

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Bibi van der Zee

EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides

3 months 2 weeks ago

The world’s most widely used insecticides will be banned from all fields within six months, to protect both wild and honeybees that are vital to crop pollination

The European Union will ban the world’s most widely used insecticides from all fields due to the serious danger they pose to bees.

The ban on neonicotinoids, approved by member nations on Friday, is expected to come into force by the end of 2018 and will mean they can only be used in closed greenhouses.

Related: Pesticides damage survival of bee colonies, landmark study shows

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Damian Carrington Environment editor

Pollutionwatch: spring is often the worst time in UK for air pollution

3 months 2 weeks ago

Ammonia from farms mixes with factory emissions and traffic exhaust to create high levels of air pollution

Runners in this year’s London Marathon escaped breathing badly polluted air as westerly winds cleared springtime smog just before the race start. Images of spring include blossom and fresh green growth, but it is often our most polluted time of year, and air pollution frequently reaches the top level on the UK government’s 10-point scale.

In spring 2014 Paris instigated odd/even number plate bans and David Cameron memorably tweeted that he was cancelling his run due to air pollution. That year, spring particle pollution caused an estimated 600 early deaths across England and Wales.

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Gary Fuller
Checked
3 hours 48 minutes ago
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