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A look at farming issues and our work
on behalf of our members.

May 2019

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The forthcoming Environment Bill has been under much scrutiny recently. The NFU's own concerns have been mirrored by a number of recommendations in reports by the EFRA Committee. NFU chief environment adviser Diane Mitchell present the NFU's views on whether the upcoming Environment Bill should contain environmental targets.


There has been much activity from the Environment Agency (EA) this month. The EA has published their irrigation prospects, relaunched the web-based mapping support for water trading and launched a Draft National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy.


An exciting opportunity from the VI (Voluntary Initiative) is advertised below. The VI is looking for an experienced and passionate grower with an interest in Integrated Pest Management. Read on to find out more, but be quick, the deadline for applications in 31st May.

Ahead of Open Farm Sunday next month, our case study showcases the importance of productive farming, environmental delivery and public engagement. Also included in this months' newsletter is an update on the NFU’s involvement in future Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes, the English Coast Path, invasive species and much, much more...... 

NFU responds to Defra on general bird control licences

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Earlier this month the NFU called on Secretary of State, Michael Gove to provide the farming industry with urgent access to general licences which are practical and fully fit for purpose.

The call comes as part of the NFU’s evidence to Defra on the impact of Natural England’s decision to revoke general licences. The evidence is compiled from hundreds of NFU members’ responses

NFU view on establishing environmental targets in law

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NFU chief environment adviser Diane Mitchell presents the NFU's views on whether the upcoming Environment Bill should contain environmental targets.

Click here to read the NFU's views and its response to an informal Defra survey.

Pre-legislative scrutiny of draft Environment Bill

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The NFU's own concerns have been mirrored by a number of recommendations in reports by the EFRA Committee and Environmental Audit Committee on pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Environment Bill.

Read on to see the mutual recommendations.

NFU reiterates its net zero aims for agriculture

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The NFU has reiterated that improvements in productivity, carbon capture and renewable energy production are the most effective ways to reach agricultural net zero targets, as part of its ambition to reach net zero by 2040.

Read more about net zero agriculture here.

Agri-Environment Update - May 2019

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The RPA have now delivered 90% of 2017 ELS/HLS finals and are on track to surpass their commitment to delivering 95% by the end of July. The RPA report they are also on track to deliver 95% of CS 2018 finals by the end of July, but at present have only delivered 26%.

Read more....

NFU involvement in ELM tests and trials

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The NFU is involved in a number of the environmental land management (ELM) tests and trials, from leading bids to run a test, through to being part of the steering groups behind them.

Here is a list of the NFU-led ELM tests and trials that have been submitted in Defra's phase two call for expressions of interest.

New NFU report champions the importance of farming on the Fens

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The NFU has launched a new report putting the crucial importance of Fens' farming firmly in the spotlight.

Delivering for Britain: Food and Farming in the Fens offers an engaging and comprehensive look into the huge contribution of this rich agricultural and natural landscape to food production in the UK.                    

'Step up to the plate' on food waste

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An estimated 800 million people in the world do not have enough to eat, and in the UK we squander 10 million tonnes of food and drink every year.

The NFU has joined major British retailers and food companies in pledging to help halve food waste by 2030. Read more here.

Revised irrigation prospects report published as dry spell continues

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With low rainfall patterns persisting across some of our key irrigation areas – East Anglia received just 19% of long term average rainfall during April – the Environment Agency has revised its ‘irrigation prospects’ report for the year ahead.

Prospects for East Anglia, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire are now described as ‘poor’.

EA relaunches web-based mapping support for water trading

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Following a successful pilot programme in East Anglia last summer, the Environment Agency has relaunched its web-based mapping platform, and extended its geographical spread, to help with potential water trades.

Find out whether the support service could help you to identify other licence holders trading water in your area.

NFU Responds to Environmental Audit Committee

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The NFU have recently responded to the Environmental Audit Committees invasive species inquiry. Invasive species often burden the agricultural industry through the financial costs being picked up by land managers.

You can see the NFU’s full response here, and other organisations responses here.


Impact of the English Coast Path on agriculture

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After discussions with his farming constituents, Gordon Henderson MP led a debate in Westminster Hall on the impact of the English Coast Path on landowners and occupiers.

Find out more about the impacts of the English Coast Path on agriculture and what the NFU is doing to help members here.

NFU responds to EFRA Committee inquiry into coastal flooding

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The NFU have provided a written response to the EFRA inquiry into coastal flooding and climate change outlining the main impacts coastal erosion and flooding has on agriculture and the requirement for transparent discussions and adequate funding.

You can read a summary of the main points in the reponse here.

EA launch Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management strategy

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On 9th May, the Environment Agency launched their Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy at Brunel University.

Read NFU Vice-President Stuart Roberts' response here.

Could you champion Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for the VI?

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Are you an experienced and passionate grower? Do you advocate forward-thinking farming practices? Do you have a good understanding of the industry and it's use of pesticides?

If this sounds like you, the VI’s new major initiative, 'IPM 2.0' are looking to recruit a team of 'farming champions' - apply before Friday 31st May!

Summer CFE events planned around the country

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Championing the Farmed Environment is excited to announce plans for three CFE-led events to showcase and promote the benefits of environmental management to support beneficial insects such as pollinators and pest-predators as part of a productive and profitable farm business. Find out what is planned this summer.

Interested in improving the Environment Agency Waste Exemption System?

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Calling all farmers: the Environment Agency is carrying out a survey in order to stream line the renewal system which takes place every three years and would like your input.

Have your say here!

Case Study: Environmental delivery, productivity and Open Farm Sunday

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Ahead of Open Farm Sunday next month, the NFU paid a vist to one member who keeps the environment at the centre of their farming business. To showcase this commitment he is an enthusiastic participant in Open Farm Sunday, having attracted over 66,000 visitors since they first took part in 2006. Read more...

NFU responds to two consultations on plastic

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The NFU has responded to Treasury and Defra consultations covering plastic packaging tax and reform of the UK packaging producer responsibility system.

The interest in the consultations and the key points made through the NFU's response are summarised here.

Register for CHAP 'soils forum' on 4 June

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Crop Health & Protection (CHAP) is holding a ‘soils forum’ to debate productive and sustainable soil management. The event, entitled Finding Fertile Fields for the Future, will bring together academia, practitioners and innovators to showcase existing cutting-edge technologies and practical field solutions.

Take a look at the agenda and booking information here.

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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 nfuonline.com 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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