Farm News 160

The Caravan Club is again looking for additional sites in advance of the main touring season. The Club wants to expand its network of small 5-pitch sites, known as Certified Locations (CLs) and is authorised to grant certificates to operate these, to landowners, without the need for planning permission.Insurance implication

A recent survey by Barclays Business showed that up to 50% of farmers were intending to invest in new machinery in 2011. Around half thought they would be spending £25,000 to £100,000. Barclays take the survey as a sign of confidence within the industry. Tractor and equipment sales in January show small rises on last year.

The Government has announced a review of the Feed in Tariff scheme in the light of evidence that the support money available for schemes is being soaked up by large solar parks to the detriment of small businesses and householders.   

The RPA will not achieve its target of processing 95% of Single Farm Payment claims by 31st March. Blame for this continues to be placed on the inadequate IT system that caused so many problems in the past.

UK farm borrowing rose by 3.7% to £11.6bn in 2010. The rise was expected by financial commentators as arable farmers continue to invest in more land and grain handling and storage equipment. Deposits held by farmers in their accounts also rose, by 4.5% to £5.3bn.

The Welsh Assembly has decided to go ahead with its cull of badgers in an area of west Wales containing over 300 herds of cattle. The cull is part of the plan to combat TB in cattle and was welcomed by farming industry leaders. An earlier cull was abandoned after it was ruled illegal by the courts.

It is estimated that the bad winter will cost farmers and growers £100m. Damage to farm buildings will exceed £30m with sugar beet and vegetables being the crops worst affected.

The production of green energy takes a further step forward with the announcement, by the Government, of its Renewable Heat Incentive. The Incentive will start in October 2012 and will reward the generation of heat from renewable sources. Farmers are expected to be well placed to take advantage of the scheme.Insurance implication.

A row has broken out between farming leaders and the RSPB over comments made by a director of the latter on the impact of farming on wildlife numbers. The RSPB comments do not recognise the significant fall in fertiliser and pesticide use or the many wildlife initiatives undertaken by farmers.