This Week in Farming: Emissions, politicians and cow picnics

Welcome to This Week in Farming, your weekly catch-up of the best content from the Farmers Weekly website over the past seven days.

Every Saturday we round-up the five most eye-catching topics from the website that you might have missed and look ahead to what’s coming up in the FW Podcast.

Farmer fears over BPS withdrawal

We’re now into year two of our Transition series, the extra layer of advice aimed at helping you tackle the shift away from area payments and understand the plethora of financial, environmental and technological changes to come.

Our second annual survey of farmers revealed that two-thirds of English farmers are considering joining at least one element of Defra’s Sustainable Farming Incentive, but just 10% of them are happy with the government’s long-term vision for farming.

We also had fresh advice this week on how to stress-test your business in the face of soaring input costs and price volatility.

About the author

Andrew Meredith

Farmers Weekly editor

Andrew has been Farmers Weekly editor since January 2021 after doing stints on the business and arable desk. Before joining the team, he worked on his family’s upland beef and sheep farm in mid Wales and studied agriculture at Aberystwyth University. In his free time he can normally be found continuing his research into which shop sells London’s finest Scotch egg.


Tory Party leadership contest

This week, food and farming was briefly the focus of attention for Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak as their acrimonious campaign to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister continues.

What did each claim would be different in the agricultural sector if they got the keys to Downing Street?

Our news and opinion editor Phil Clarke dug into the details while news reporter Ed Henderson sampled the views of farmers.

Feeling like neither is likely to leave many of you overjoyed, I went in search of a historical figure that might rally the farming vote and came up with Theodore Roosevelt.

But do email your own nominations for fantasy farming champions for a chance to feature on our letters page.

Climate-friendly food

The cost-of-living crisis means many are struggling to afford to put food on their table at all, but there’s still plenty of customers out there willing to pay a premium for products that can claim to be better-than-average for the environment .

This week, Nottinghamshire farmer-owned co-operative FreshGrowers launched the world’s first carbon-neutral carrots, while in a separate development, retailer Morrisons became the first supermarket to sell carbon-neutral eggs. Read more about both stories.

Over on the arable desk, deputy business editor David Jones went to Pembrokeshire to visit Morgan Scale, who’s using cover crops and offsetting to produce carbon-neutral potatoes.

Finally, business reporter Charlie Reeve dug into the emerging “regen beef” sector to find out what premiums might be available for producers willing to abide by enhanced environmental standards, such as reducing run-off into rivers or increasing biodiversity.

Dairy diets

Coarse grass gone to seed may look like some pretty rough fodder, but it’s been just the job for managing dry cows in Devon.

The Cheriton family told freelance journalist Debbie James that their milk fever incidence rate had been cut to just 1% in their autumn-calving herd, and it works best in a dry year such as this.

Here are five more tips on transition management from last week, including what you should put in your “fresh cow picnic”.

Food protests

It’s been a busy week for anti-farming protesters as they poured milk on the floor of various supermarkets in a childish fit of petulance that could be the first shot on a more serious series of protests later this year.

Yet while protestors of this sort never fail to attract attention, it seems their bid to persuade consumers to shun meat and dairy is having less success.

Burger giant McDonald’s operation in the US brought its experiment with Beyond Meat’s plant-based burger to an end this week and has not yet announced any further plans to sell the product to beef-loving Yanks.

It remains on sale here in the UK for now.

Listen to the FW Podcast

Don’t forget the latest edition of the Farmers Weekly podcast with Johann Tasker and Hugh Broom too.

Listen here or bring us with you in the cab by downloading it from your usual podcast platform.

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