1. The Guardian RSS
    Created by The Guardian RSS
    Feb 21, 2018 at 6:12 AM
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    Ministers 'close to deal' over Brexit powers with Scotland and Wales

    Written by Severin Carrell Scotland editor

    UK due to agree to repatriation of powers in areas such as farming, justice and food safety

    The UK government believes it is on the brink of a deal to ends months of deadlock with the Scottish and Welsh governments over an alleged “power grab” after Brexit.

    Ministers will offer to drop their controversial plans for Whitehall to take control over as many as 111 EU powers that Scottish and Welsh lawmakers insist should be handed over to them.

    Continue reading...

    Since you’re here …

    … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

    If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. Support the Guardian – it...
  2. News
    Created by News
    Feb 20, 2018 at 10:47 PM


    5 SOIL FACTS

    WHAT’S BEHIND HAZY DAYS AND OTHER SOIL FACTORS.

    By Gil Gullickson
    2/19/2018
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    Jethro Tull isn’t just a 1960s and 1970s rock band. An English agriculturalist by the same name lived in the 1600s and 1700s. He loved to till the soil. And till. And till some more.

    “He believed the more you tilled, the better the soil,” says Aaron Daigh, a North Dakota State University (NDSU) soil scientist. Tull reasoned that the tiny soil particles caused by tillage pulverizing the soil would be easier for plants to suck up as they grew.

    Fortunately, farmers and soil scientists have come a long way since those days in understanding soils. Still, there are some soil facts that often fly under the radar. Here are a few to keep in mind from Daigh and Jodi DeJong-Hughes, University of Minnesota (U of M) Extension crops educator.

    1. ROCKY SOILS ARE A PAIN. BUT IT COULD BE WORSE.
    Farmers in states like Minnesota and the Dakotas may cuss the rocks that glaciers deposited thousands of years ago. On the plus side, these glaciers also helped create some of the best soils in the world.

    “Up here, it is amazing how black and deep the soils are,” Daigh says. He compared that with the bright red soil of western Arkansas (where he grew up) that had just 1 to 2 inches of topsoil....
  3. News
    Created by News
    Feb 20, 2018 at 9:29 PM
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    Food and farming can power Britain post-Brexit, says NFU President

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    Now is the opportunity to change and reshape agriculture policy and future-proof British food production, according to NFU President Meurig Raymond.

    Leading the opening address at the NFU Conference, being held in Birmingham today (Tuesday 20 February), Mr Raymond will tell 1,500 delegates and attendees, including Defra Secretary of State Michael Gove, that the nation needs a good Brexit - one which means British farming and food production builds on the £112 billion it already contributes to the economy and supporting jobs for almost 4 million people, has access to a competent and reliable workforce to harvest our fresh produce and sees Britain’s self-sufficiency in food increase rather than decrease.

    On the vital role British food and farming can play in the country’s future, Mr Raymond will also highlight farming’s story as a responsible long-term steward of the countryside and as an acknowledged world leader in animal welfare.

    “Food is at the heart of the British countryside; it’s at the heart of the British economy. British farming produces a safe, affordable and high quality supply of food,” said Mr Raymond.

    “British farmers want to be the first supplier of choice,...
  4. News
    Created by News
    Feb 20, 2018 at 9:14 PM


    A comprehensive review of farm inspections to remove bureaucratic burdens placed on farmers has been announced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove today.


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    Dame Glenys Stacey
    The review, to be led by Dame Glenys Stacey, will look at opportunities for improving regulation and enforcement pre and post EU Exit, seek out ways to reduce duplication and allow farmers to concentrate on upholding key environmental and animal welfare standards as they produce fantastic British food.

    For example, the current inspection regime can result in farmers being visited by as many as five different bodies - the Rural Payments Agency, Natural England, the Animal Plant and Health Agency, the Environment Agency or their local authority – all asking for similar information.

    Each visit adds to the burden on farmers, and rigidity of the Common Agriculture Policy rules require inspections of precise criteria such as field margin dimensions and the specific placement of trees in fields. Equally, inspections over lapses such as slurry management and welfare standards are often haphazard.

    The review comes as the government is preparing to publish an agriculture Command Paper that consults on future policy in this country after we leave the European Union.

    Speaking at the NFU Conference today, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

    The rules associated with...
  5. News
    Created by News
    Feb 20, 2018 at 9:04 PM
    Source: Gov.uk

    Secretary of State Michael Gove sets out the direction of travel for our farming industry at the NFU Farming Conference 2018

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    Thank you for that very kind introduction.

    It’s a great pleasure to be here at this - my first - NFU conference.

    But also a sadness that it will be your last as President, Meurig.

    You have been an outstanding leader of this organisation, a powerful voice for farmers and a highly effective advocate for agriculture, and you have influenced every level of Government.

    I have - hugely- valued your candour and wisdom and will miss our regular meetings.

    Everyone in this room should know, and I am sure does, how determinedly you have stood up for their interests in all our conversations and you deserve the gratitude of everyone in this room for your exemplary leadership. Thank you for the work you’ve done.

    You leave very big boots to fill.

    But it is the NFU’s strength - and this country’s good fortune - that you have a talented field stepping up to take on new leadership roles in the union and I wish them all every success

    Food at the heart of life
    One issue you have continually impressed on me Meurig, and you repeated in your fantastic speech just now, and one principle I wholeheartedly agree with, is that the heart of farming is food production.

    Like you I admire farmers as...
  6. News
    Created by News
    Feb 20, 2018 at 6:58 PM


    Approval given to export lamb to Saudi Arabia


    Lamb from the UK will soon be heading to Saudi Arabia in a deal which could be worth £25 million over the next five years.

    Saudi Arabian authorities have this week lifted the ban on sheep meat from the UK, following a detailed process to gain access to this new and lucrative market.

    Exports of lamb could begin as early as next month once export certification is finalised and released.

    The agreement comes following ongoing negotiations and inspections carried out jointly by Defra, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), FSA, UKECP, DAERA and APHA.

    AHDB International Market Development Director Phil Hadley said: “This is great news for the sheep industry and for lamb processors and producers in the UK who are keen to look at new, non-EU markets.

    “The announcement is the result of ongoing and detailed work between all parties and is a testament to the high regard and quality of UK lamb.”

    The news comes hot on the heels of an agreement to progress lifting the BSE ban on UK beef exports to China, as well as exports of a broader range of dairy products, following the Prime Minister’s visit to Beijing earlier this month.
  7. Pheasant Surprise
    Created by Pheasant Surprise
    Feb 20, 2018 at 9:29 AM


    Arco warns of carcinogenic dangers found in some safety gloves

    Published: 19 February, 2018

    Safety product manufacturer Arco is warning tradespeople about the dangers associated with some leather safety gloves currently available on the market.

    Following market surveillance carried out over two years ago on a number of EC type approved and CE marked leather safety gloves, Arco says that it has found worrying evidence of carcinogenic dangers in a number of safety gloves.

    In independent due diligence testing initiated by Arco, a sample of a leather welder’s glove supplied by one distributor was found to contain illegal levels of Azo dyes, which are restricted substances of very high concern under REACH, due to being both carcinogenic and mutagenic.

    What’s more, illegal levels of Chromium VI, were also present in the test sample. Chromium III salts are used in the tanning stages of leather production, with Chromium III usually being present in finished products. However, small amounts of chromium III can be oxidised to form the hazardous and restricted Chromium VI. This chemical can cause serious skin irritation and allergic reactions.

    The issue of banned substances and hazardous chemicals being present in leather safety gloves is an issue known and acknowledged by the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF). After Arco first raised concerns over two years ago following its initial market surveillance tests, Trading Standards...
  8. The Guardian RSS
    Created by The Guardian RSS
    Feb 20, 2018 at 11:12 AM
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    'Frictionless' EU trade is vital post-Brexit for UK farming to survive

    Written by Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent

    Farming union president Meurig Raymond takes veiled swipe at Liam Fox’s ‘cheap food policy’ at NFU conference

    Trade with the EU after Brexit needs to be “frictionless” if the UK’s food and farming sectors are to survive the transition, the president of the National Farmers Union has said at the opening of the NFU’s conference.

    Meurig Raymond, who farms a large acreage of mixed arable and livestock in Wales, said: “We must have frictionless trade with the EU. Everything else, including the final shape of any domestic agricultural policy, is dependent on that.”

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

    Continue reading...

    Since you’re here …

    … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent,...
  9. Farm Business RSS
    Created by Farm Business RSS
    Feb 20, 2018 at 8:02 AM
    [​IMG]

    Written by John Swire

    Now is the opportunity to change and reshape agriculture policy and future-proof British food production, according to NFU President Meurig Raymond.

    Leading the opening address at the NFU Conference, being held in Birmingham today (Tuesday 20 February), Mr Raymond will tell 1,500 delegates and attendees, including Defra Secretary of State Michael Gove, that the nation needs a good Brexit – one which means British farming and food production builds on the £112 billion it already contributes to the economy and supporting jobs for almost 4 million people, has access to a competent and reliable workforce to harvest our fresh produce and sees Britain’s self-sufficiency in food increase rather than decrease.

    On the vital role British food and farming can play in the country’s future, Mr Raymond will also highlight farming’s story as a responsible long-term steward of the countryside and as an acknowledged world leader in animal welfare.

    “Food is at the heart of the British countryside; it’s at the heart of the British economy. British farming produces a safe, affordable and high quality supply of food,” said Mr Raymond.

    “British farmers want to be the first supplier of choice, servicing every price point and serving every plate, feeding Britain with food produced to a high standard, independently inspected to ensure its integrity. We have the climate and...
  10. News
    Created by News
    Feb 19, 2018 at 1:33 PM
    Not sure how much coverage there have been of this part of the Space X mission:

    SpaceX Will Launch the First of Its Global Internet Satellites

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    With the Heavy’s test flight complete, SpaceX is back to business as usual. Or maybe not. What seems like a routine launch this week may have greater implications for the company’s future and profits.

    The launch’s primary mission is to deliver Paz, an observational satellite heavily financed by the Spanish Ministry of Defense, from the company’s pad in California. Paz won’t be riding alone on its recycled Falcon 9 though; SpaceX quietly loaded two experimental broadband satellites—built in-house—atop the rocket.

    Read the full article here:

    https://www.wired.com/story/watch-spacex-launch-the-first-of-its-global-internet-satellites/