An insight into agricultural science, regulation and our work on behalf of our members.

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An eclectic mix of plant health, farm safety, transport, skills, employment and science news and all the latest from the NFU's Science & Regulatory Affairs team.

January 2019

Welcome to Technically Speaking - the newsletter from the NFU's Science & Regulatory Affairs team! Click on one of the top stories above, scroll down for more news articles or stay put and catch up on what some of our team have been up to over the last month:

Skills and Employment Adviser, Tammie Hill, has been digesting the Immigration White Paper and responding to a consultation on the Shortage Occupation List: "The publication of the Immigration White Paper and subsequent Bill has kept me busy this month both in digesting the detail and writing a briefing (Member exclusive) on what it contains and how it may affect members. Over the coming months as we move into the consultation period, I will be consulting across all sectors and regions and facilitating a full programme of engagement with Defra colleagues and NFU members.

"The other project I am working on is writing the NFU response to the Migration Advisory Committee’s consultation on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). The SOL details the occupations and job titles currently experiencing real labour shortages that could be filled using non-EEA labour across the UK as a whole. Previously, this route has remained extremely limited to agriculture and horticulture and the Government places strict criteria on the roles that can be considered for the list in an effort to encourage employers to train domestic workers.

"The NFU continues to call for swift Government action to provide certainty that in the event of a No Deal, there will be a commitment to provide access to a sufficient supply of non-UK workers at all skill levels."

Meanwhile, Farm Safety and Transport Adviser, Tom Price, has been preparing for the launch of a new transport safety campaign: "This month, I have been working closely with colleagues in NFU Communications and partners in the Farm Safety Partnership on 2019 safety campaigns.

"The first campaign running from January to March will focus on farm transport highlighting 4 key and cost effective safety messages that if implemented could significantly reduce farm transport fatalities and injuries.

"The transport campaign will be launched on social media and at LAMMA on 8 January."

Click here to meet the Science & Regulatory Affairs team and find out who does what.

Quad bike slug pellet application_17094

Defra has announced that a ban on the outdoor use of metaldehyde is to be introduced across Great Britain from Spring 2020, despite products containing it still being authorised for use in other countries that export food to the UK. Read what NFU Deputy President, Guy Smith, had to say in response.

Farm Safety - 2019 focus_59537

The NFU and partners in the Farm Safety Partnership have committed to work towards reducing farm work place fatal accidents by 50% by 2023. Find out what the NFU will be doing in 2019 to help achieve this ambition.

EU passes report on pesticide rules_59109

In December, members of the European Parliament’s Special Committee, set up to examine the EU’s pesticide authorisation procedure, voted to approve their report on the matter. NFU Senior Regulatory Adviser, Chris Hartfield, took a closer look at the report and explains what the NFU did to influence it.

Worker harvesting carrots_12348

In mid-December, the government published its immigration white paper, which outlined its proposals for what a new immigration policy will look like. Find out what the proposals will mean for farmers and read the full response from NFU President, Minette Batters.

Child safety on farm

farm safety, children on farm, child running in field_29025

Blog - Young children in the workplace: NFU farm safety and transport policy adviser, Tom Price, discusses some important questions for farmers and asks: is there need for a radical change?

What's the law on children driving agricultural machines?The Prevention of Accidents to Children in Agriculture Regulations 1998 make it illegal for children under the age of 13 years to either drive or ride on any agricultural machineFind out more and make sure you are complying with the law.

Seasonal workers clearing soil from root syatem, Wyevale Nurseries_42407

Member exclusive: Defra has selected two operators for a Seasonal Workers Pilot set to bring 2,500 seasonal workers to UK farms. Click here to find out who they are and get more information.

This article is for NFU members only. Use your membership number or the email address associated with your membership to log in. If you've forgotten your password, you can click here to reset it or contact NFU CallFirst on 0370 845 8458.

The NFU's work on metaldehyde

metadehyde and slugs blog image, pelletwise_37525

Ahead of the government's decision to ban metaldehyde, the NFU’s Plant Health team had been working tirelessly to keep metaldehyde-based slug pellets available. Learn more about the team's work here.

Oak tree_59460

Two men have died in separate incidents over recent months while carrying out tree work, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Refresh your memory on the guidance around tree work and using chainsaws.

Mixed farm landscape Herefordshire_44287

A more supportive, flexible and incentives-led approach to farming regulation has been recommended as part of wide-ranging review into the sector published in mid-December. Read what NFU President, Minette Batters, had to say on the report.

rodenticide use_50120

New hotspots of rats that are resistant to anticoagulant rodenticides have been identified by monitoring carried out at The University of Reading, but there is almost a complete lack of data for central England. Find out what you can do to support this important work.

Asbestos roof_12670

Falls from height, particularly falls from height whilst carrying out roof and building maintenance, is one of the major causes of death and life changing injury in farming. Find out what you can do to avoid becoming another statistic.

Field margins supporting pollinators_51299

The Farmer’s Pride project aims to help conserve a wide range of plant varieties on farms and in the wild. Complete the 10-15 minute survey to help them find out what still exists where.

Upper Thames Pond_27103

As metaldehyde is phased out over the next 18 months, members are encouraged to continue work to keep the pesticide out of the water.

To keep members informed, the water companies in the Thames catchment have been providing updates on local concentrations: 4 January | 21 December | 14 December | 7 December

tractor and trailer_7830

Is it time for compulsory trailer MOT and registration? Please send us your views.

laboratory testing seed_13151

Biotechnology in the UK: The NFU sees biotechnology as a critical part of the solution in helping British farmers and growers meet some of the production challenges they face - catch up on the latest developments here.

Biotechnology in world news: Get the latest reaction from around the world to a recent ECJ ruling on gene editing, find out why Nobel prize-winners have dismissed fears about GM foods and read about a new Canadian policy model that mitigates costly market disruption when traces of GM crops are found in shipments.

Growing Skills and Knowledge p_58104

The NFU has pulled together a list of agriculture-related courses on offer across England and Wales between January and March 2019, including an online silage science course, a one-day session on the safe use of pesticides and a three-day course on first aid at work.

Find the right course for you: Online Courses | North West | North East | West Midlands | East Midlands | South West | South East | East Anglia | Wales

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National news from NFU HQ is an email service offered to all NFU members and staff only. For more information on anything you have read, please visit or call NFU CallFirst on 0370 845 8458. Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy neither the NFU nor the author can accept liability for errors and omissions.

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