Episodes

  • Global Agriculture

    · Farming Today

    Charlotte Smith chairs a studio discussion about the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the world's farmers. On the agenda is how to move towards sustainable farming systems and zero hunger, the threat of climate change and how to empower the world's smallholder farmers.On the panel: Mark Driscoll, Associate Director of Sustainable Nutrition at Forum for the Future; Dr Betty Chinyamunyamu, CEO of the National Smallholder Farmers' Association of Malawi; and David Gardner, CEO of Innovation for Agriculture. There are also contributions from Sonny Perdue, US Secretary of Agriculture; Theo de Jager, President of the World Farmers' Organisation and Ann Tutwiler, Director General of Bioversity International.

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  • France and glyphosate, Slurry in Northern Ireland, Agricultural biodiversity

    · Farming Today

    Glyphosate is the world's most popular weed-killer, and many farmers say it's vital for growing crops. But it is controversial... In 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer said it was "probably carcinogenic to humans". But subsequent reports from, among others, the European Food Safety Authority, decided it was "unlikely" to cause cancer in humans.This has delayed glyphosate's re-licensing in Europe, and its permission is due to run out in December. Some countries are keen to see it banned, or phased out, others say there are no grounds for such action. Next week the European Commission will vote on whether to re-license glyphosate for a further 10 years.One of the member states that's said it will vote against the proposal is France - but in an open letter, the French grain producers union, the OPG, has said if the Commission doesn't re-authorise glyphosate, it will take the case to the EU Court of Justice.Charlotte Smith speaks to Sophie Thoyer, a Professor in Environmental and Agricultural Economics at Montpellier SupAgro.Earlier this week, Farming Today covered a slurry waiver for Scottish farmers. Strict rules govern when the liquid muck can be spread on fields, to avoid polluting waterways - and under EU rules, spreading season was due to finish last Sunday.Heavy rain over summer in Scotland meant many farmers hadn't been able to spread by the deadline - leaving them facing serious pressure over storage. But this week the Scottish Government granted them a waiver, allowing more time.Well in Northern Ireland, where the summer was also unusually wet, farmers are facing the same dilemma - and are fighting for more time to spread slurry.BBC Northern Ireland's Conor Macauley has been in the fields of County Antrim, to see how the issue's being dealt with.All this week on Farming Today we've been discussing the big issues facing global agriculture - and there are few bigger than climate change.The global research organisation Bioversity International says a key way to promote sustainable farming is to protect 'agricultural biodiversity' - which it says is integral to everything we eat and grow.Farming Today hears from Carlo Fadda, one of the organisation's scientists who's leading a project in Ethiopia - and Director General of Bioversity International, Ann Tutwiler.

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  • Africa's farming revolution, NFU plan for post-Brexit agriculture policy, Black Mountains grant

    · Farming Today

    Africa's population is set to double by 2050 - and that growing market has many international farmers rubbing their hands in glee, as it holds huge potential for exporters of meat, dairy and processed foods.But in Africa, there is talk of revolution: a complete agricultural transformation, tapping into the production potential of 41 million smallholders, farming some of the most fertile soils in the world. Governments, NGOs and the private sector are committing millions of dollars to the home-grown food and farming revolution.Anna Jones went to the African Green Revolution Forum in Ivory Coast, to find out where Africa's farmers are heading - and whether the continent will be a customer or a competitor to the UK in future.The National Farmers Union has launched its vision for the UK's future domestic agriculture policy - and it says direct payments to farmers need to continue, albeit in a different format... It also suggests that the new policy should be integrated, providing farmers with "incentives and rewards" to become profitable and resilient Charlotte Smith finds out more from the NFU's Nick Von Westenholz.A pioneering partnership in Wales' Black Mountains has secured a grant from by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, to restore and improve the iconic area. Made-up of graziers, private land owners and public land-owning bodies, the partnership has £1,004,155 (one million, four thousand, one hundred and fifty-five pounds) to spend on a range of projects, including tackling bracken, improving grazing land and developing rural skills. Toby Field visited the picturesque spot to chat to some of those involved in the project - including Phil Stocker, chair of the organisation that secured the funds and chief executive of the National Sheep Association.

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  • US secretary of agriculture, EFRA Committee reports, haricot beans

    · Farming Today

    This week on Farming Today, we're taking a look at the issues impacting farming around the globe, from food security to sustainability.One of the biggest players in global agriculture is the United States: but as a country that has so many diverse agricultural systems in play, what's the right way forward for the food and farming sector? Charlotte Smith put the question to the US Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue.Select Committees are cross-party groups of MPs that aim to hold the government to account on implementing policies based on evidence they've gathered from various sources - but are they failing to make an impact?The Environment, Food and Rural Affair Committee says it's 'concerned' and 'disappointed' with Defra's reactions to some of its recent reports, which the Committee's Chair Neil Parish MP has labelled 'inadequate'. He told Anna Hill why he's written to Michael Gove to complain.Beans on toast might sound like a typical British comfort food, but baked beans were originally from the Americas and are still only grown overseas. Until now, that is... A haricot bean breeding programme at Warwick University is hoping it's developed a variety that can put up with our unpredictable weather. Sarah Swadling joined Professor Eric Hollub in the midst of harvesting his field trials, to find out more.

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  • No trade deal post-Brexit, climate report, forest management, slurry spreading restrictions in Scotland

    · Farming Today

    The Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, has stirred up the agricultural community by saying if the UK left the European Union with no trade deal and the cost of food were to rise, to compensate UK farmers would "grow more here, and buy more from around the world".A new report just published claims that changing farming practices across the world could produce the same benefits as stopping burning oil.We visit two forests in Sussex, established after the Great Storm of 1987, to see how the impact of managing the trees has affected the woodlands and the landscape.Scottish farmers have been granted a waiver to slurry spreading rules from the Scottish Government.Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

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  • The President of the World Farmer's Organisation Theo de Jager interviewed on the UN's World Food Day

    · Farming Today

    On the UN's World Food Day, and as farming ministers from around the world reflect on the weekend's G7 Agriculture talks, Farming Today hears from the President of the World Farmer's Organisation Theo de Jager.It's 30 years since the devastating storm that killed 18 people, destroyed millions of trees and caused a billion pounds worth of damage. Farming Today meets a farmer who was there, and then Caz Graham asks the Woodland Trust what has been learnt since about protecting our vulnerable trees from vicious winds.Presented by Caz GrahamProduced by Alun Beach.

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  • Farming Today This Week: Farming in Scotland

    · Farming Today

    Farming Today This Week's summer series, shining a light on food and farming practices in different regions of the UK, finishes up in Scotland - more specifically, at the bustling Lairg lamb sale.Nancy Nicolson soaks up the atmosphere and chats to auctioneer David Leggat, who's sold lambs at the site for decades, about the current market for sheep farmers and buyers; John Fyall, chair of the National Sheep Association in Scotland about industry's dependence on European markets and recent calls for lynx to be released in several sites across Scotland; Joyce Campbell, a farmer and entrepreneur based in North Sutherland, who also sits on the new government task-force focusing on women in agriculture; and buyer John Roberts, who's travelled to the sale all the way from North Wales.Nancy also finds out more about the ingredients that go into Scotch whisky - not all of which are sourced from Scotland - with farmer Gordon Rennie, discusses the world of crofting with Crofting Federation chairman Russell Smith, and hears from reporter Richard Baynes on government plans to give the country's wild beavers protected status.

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