FarmWeb News 20/05/2012

Second generation solar PVpanels giving better performance at a lower cost are proving to be popular with farmers. A thinner, more efficient film has led to price falls of 30% in the last twelve months giving an annual return of over 13% on investment. In addition to the financial benefits to farmers, the panels are being promoted as a good selling point to potential customers, such as supermarkets, anxious to improve the green credentials of their supply chain. Insurance implications.

After more than a decade of campaigning by farming unions, a bill to create a grocery chain adjudicatorwas mentioned in the Queen’s speech. Farming leaders are pressing for the adjudicator to be given powers to fine supermarkets that breach the Supply Code and to take evidence from third parties such as the NFU’s.

A ground breaking deal has been reached with the Chinese Government for the import of pig meatworth £50m from the UK. Porkis the most popular meat in China and consumption is increasing rapidly. A UK agricultural trade mission is in China to promote increased exports.

A major new campaign to encourage people to buy British produceis being launched by the industry. The campaign will focus on the contribution British farming makes in areas such as animal welfare, economic growth and the environment.

An award of £152,000 has beenmade to the widow of a worker involved in the repair of poultry houses made from asbestos. The exposure to asbestos led to the development of mesothelioma, a form of cancer, which caused his death.

Construction has started on the UK’s second straw-fired power stationat Sleaford, Lincs. The plant will consume up to 240,000 tonnes per year of mainly wheat straw from farms in a fifty mile radius. The plant is scheduled to begin operation in January 2014 with a further plant planned at Brigg. Supplies are secured from farmers on long-term contracts. Insurance implicationsas bales remain the responsibility of the farmer until moved to the plant.

Changes to the VAT statuson repairs and alterations to listed buildings come into force on 1st October 2012. The full rate of VAT may apply to items that were zero rated in the past.

Farming leaders have welcomed proposals to modernise the law relating to unrecorded rights of way. The aim is to make access rules easier to understand and reduce the current lengthy process of resolving any rights of way issues and disputes.