FarmWeb News 30/01/2013

Farmers with telecommunication masts on their property are coming under pressure to accept lower rentals on the grounds that the masts may become uneconomic and therefore decommissioned.  The move follows increased consolidation and equipment sharing within the industry.  There are 60,000 installations in the UK and the rental can be worth up to £5,000 or more.

The EU is to amend the regulations relating to organic produce later this year.  Ahead of this, it is consulting with all stakeholders over the legal framework, GM, control and labelling.  Although organic production is declining in the UK, it is increasing in the rest of the world and accounts for 5% of cultivated land in the EU.

Latest figures show that only 10 of the 27 EU states are fully compliant with the new rules on pig stalls that came into force on the 1st  January 2013.  Of the large producers, Germany (73% compliant), France (72%) and Ireland (82%) are the main offenders. The UK is 100% compliant and has called for action against non-compliant countries.

The NFU (E&W) has expressed confidence that the two trial badger culls will take place this summer.  Other areas have been mapped and it is forecast that the cull will be extended into these during 2014.

The supermarket ombudsman has been named, Christin Tacon, who has eleven years experience as the MD of Co-operative Farms. She will enforce the new code which applies to retailers with a UK turnover, in groceries, of more than £1bn.

The number of young people studying agriculture at post graduate level has shown a healthy 10% rise over the last year.  Dynamic changes within the industry are generating greater interest in the sector as a career opportunity.

EU leaders meet again on 7/8th February to try to finalise the negotiations for the CAP budget for 2014 to 2020.  Cuts of 9% in direct payments and 13% in the rural development budget are proposed.  The UK is seeking greater cuts, whilst France and Ireland oppose them.

McCain Foods has been forced to follow Hovis and drop its “100% British” pledge after the poor potato harvest impacted on supplies. However, Walkers Crisps has confirmed it is able to continue to use only British potatoes.