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European Union

As the General Election looms, we want to hear opinions from anyone connected with agriculture about what you think the top three priorities should be for the next government to address in the farming industry.

Oilseed rape field in flower near Alby.  Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Fields across East Anglia have blossomed into a vivid yellow hue in the recent warm weather, as this year’s oilseed rape shows its colours.

A European Union flag. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Through all the TV debates, the hustings and the doorstep discussions, the issue of Europe is a recurring General Election theme – and it is one which has split the main parties.

Two long-serving grain traders at Openfield retire. Pictured (left-right): Stephen Howlett, regional general manager, and Tim Hirst, farm business manager

Two long-serving stalwarts of the grain-trading community are retiring after accumulating a lifetime of experience in East Anglian agriculture.

Jolyon Harris.

A nationally-respected chartered surveyor and top Norfolk tennis player, Jolyon Harris, who has died aged 78, played a pivotal role in reviving one of the highlights of the farming calendar.

Pink blossom appearing on trees as the Spring weather continues.

Picture: James Bass

It’s an explosion of colour to raise the spirits, with stunning spring blossoms appearing throughout the region.

Christine Tacon, Groceries Code Adjudicator

Grocery suppliers have been urged to give honest feedback about their relationship with supermarkets as part of a national survey into retail practices.

David Henley, new principal taking over at Easton and Otley College.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

The principal of an East Anglian college aims to “make his mark” on the region’s reputation for agricultural education after formally starting his new role.

CLA election hustings at Wingfield Barns. From left: Jack Abbott, Lab; Rhodri Griffiths, Green; Barry Cameron, UKIP; Richard Bacon, Cons; Steve Gordon, Lib Dem; Julian Flood, UKIP.

A shortage of affordable housing was one of the key topics at a rural debate which also discussed EU farm subsidy reforms, transport and broadband.

One of the honey bees in a colony kept by Carolyne Liston, chairman of Norfolk Beekeepers Association. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

A national bee health seminar will be held in Norfolk next month to address the raft of diseases and predators threatening East Anglia’s hives and colonies.

Campaign for the Farmed Environment walk on the Raveningham estate.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Farmers who joined a tour of Raveningham Estate near Beccles were shown how they could lend a helping hand to pollinating insects at all times of the year. Stephen Pullinger reports.

Charles Shropshire (centre) talks to visitors to G's Fresh at Barway. Picture: Ian Burt

An efficient new method of establishing lettuce plants was among the springtime operations and innovations demonstrated for visitors to one of East Anglia’s largest salad growers.

Norfolk NFU chairman Thomas Love with some potatoes grown on his farm at Walcott.   Picture: Mark Bullimore

An acute shortage of pest control chemicals has prompted a Norfolk-based buying group to secure emergency approval for an alternative product to help protect potato crops.

Chris Abel, of Abel Energy

A change in legislation has been introduced which could remove a major planning obstacle for farmers wishing to install solar panels on agricultural buildings.

Will Jones with the garden sprayer built as part of a design project at Gresham's School

A Norfolk student’s farming upbringing has inspired the design of a garden sprayer as part of his A Level studies.

HRH The Earl of Wessex meets students and staff at Easton and Otley College. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

The Earl of Wessex made a rallying call for greater support of the region’s offshore fishermen as he discharged his final duties as president of the Royal Norfolk Show.

Crop sprayer in a field of barley. Pic by James Bass

In the face of rising regulatory pressures, collaborations between farmers and scientists will become increasingly important in finding natural alternatives to synthetic agro-chemicals.

David Cross, chairman of Register of Accredited Metallic Phosphide Standards (RAMPS UK).

Moves to tighten up the supply of specialist pesticides will help the farming industry ensure pest control methods are legal and effective, according to regulators.

David Missen, head of the MHA Agriculture Group. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Britain’s farmers are feeling less optimistic about the future than they did in 2014, according to a survey undertaken at a major East Anglian trade show.

More than 3,000 lots will be up for sale at vintage machine auction in Ely run by Cambridgeshire-based auctioneers Cheffins. Pictured: Ultra-rare 1966 Doe-130

A selection of vintage machinery from a bygone age will go under the hammer this month in an auction billed as the largest of its type in the country.

Kingfisher. Picture by Eddie Deane.

They offer a chance to explore some of the lesser-known beauty spots of the Broads. And like all good walks should, they start and finish in one of Norfolk’s finest country pubs.

Lambing season at Whitehouse Farm in Oxborough. Picture: Matthew Usher.

At this time of year, lambs provide a natural focus within the livestock industry – but could the meat of older sheep be due for a comeback?

Rollesby asparagus grower Charlie Tacon in one of his polytunnels.  Picture: James Bass

The asparagus season has arrived – but one Norfolk grower faced a race against time to produce the valuable first crop of the year after vital polytunnels were damaged in last week’s gales.

A new water treatment unit is being used by pig farmer Andrew Summers (right) at Holly Heath Pigs in Corpusty. Pictured with James Doel of Anglia Quality Meats.  Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A north Norfolk pig farm is pioneering the use of a water treatment system which is helping to clean up drinking supplies, improve animal health and boost business efficiency.

With the right management, hedgerows are seen as key to helping pollinators and other beneficial insects complete their life cycles on farms

Farmers across East Anglia are being offered subsidised packs of wildflower and wild bird seed mix at a series of events aimed at improving the agricultural environment for pollinators.

NFU vice president Guy Smith speaking as chairman of the 2015 Norfolk Farming Conference. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Farmers must not be “penalised” for the technical difficulties which have plagued the computer system designed to process their EU subsidy grants, said a leading industry spokesman.

Dr Liliya Serazetdinova at the Adapt Low Carbon Group, UEA

East Anglian expertise will be at the heart of a ground-breaking £300,000 project to find ways to defeat crop pests’ resistance to insecticides.

A new reservoir built at Euston Estate. Pictured (left to right) are Matthew Hawthorne, Matthew Abrey and Giles Abrey. Picture by: Sonya Duncan

A new reservoir will help quench the thirst of this season’s crops following an East Anglian farming estate’s significant investment to safeguard its precious water supplies.

The first East Anglian-born Devon Closewool lambs have arrived at Meens Farm, near Halesworth, where a new flock of the rare breed sheep has been established.

The first East Anglian-born lambs of a rare sheep breed have arrived to join a new flock which is only the second to be established outside the animals’ West Country homeland.

The redwing, a Red-List species spotting by farmers during the 2015 Big Farmland Bird Count. Picture: Peter Thompson.

Norfolk and Suffolk have topped the table of farmers taking part in a national survey to monitor how conservation efforts are helping farmland birds.

Cattle pictured at Scarning, near Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher

A project to develop a “search engine” which could streamline the exchange of cattle information across the supply chain has been launched after securing £282,000 of government funding.

Cattle grazing on Broadland marshes  Picture: James Bass

Auctioneers reported a drop in prices for grazing land in the Broads following the annual marsh lettings.

Frederick Hiam online machine sale, March 2015: John Deere 8360R

An online auction to sell surplus farm machinery from an East Anglian farm business has been hailed a success, with 95pc of the 300 lots selling well in excess of their reserve prices.

Dr Tom Clarke at University of East Anglia

Straw-powered cars could be a thing of the future thanks to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Phoebe Taylor on a vintage tractor at the 2015 Spring Fling at the Norfolk showground.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Thousands of children and their parents learned about farm animals, crops and food at the 16th annual Spring Fling today at the Norfolk Showground.

NFU East Anglia regional director Robert Sheasby, who is due to take up the role in June 2015

The new regional director of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) is preparing for the challenges of a different geographical landscape after swapping the North West for East Anglia.

Wheat growing in Norfolk. Picture: James Bass

A world-leading Norfolk scientific centre claims it has secured its crop research programme “for the foreseeable future” after purchasing a farm for its field-based trials.

Shipdham dairy farmer Ken Proctor (left) and MEP Stuart Agnew discuss the end of dairy quotas, April 1, 2015

A senior Norfolk dairy farmer has welcomed the end of dairy quotas after 30 years – but says the European Union still has an important role to play in helping milk producers.

The 2014 Eastern Counties Vintage Tractor Show at the Royal Norfolk Showground. A line up of David Brown tractors. Picture: Denise Bradley

A “must-see” display of vintage mechanical workhorses from a bygone era of farming will bring thousands of visitors to the Norfolk Showground later this month.

Cornerways Nursery near Wissington, has won an award for being Co-op East of England producer of the year - The crop being picked. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Using rainwater from a roof the size of 17 football pitches, and recycling C02 from the factory next door, a tomato greenhouse in Norfolk is one of few almost self-sufficient growers in the mass produce sector.

Barn Owl. Picutre: NEIL CALBRADE/British Trust for Ornithology

The number of malnourished dead barn owls discovered on the ground during the cold spring of 2013 brought alarming predictions that the bird’s population was in crisis.

Drill operator Andy Ellis receives the instruction manual from Toucan Farm Machinery's Steve Twist. Behind from l to r James Medler from Ben Burgess and MMC staff Dale Atkins, Michael Sawyer (apprentice), Philip Dewing and manager Stewart Marsh

With sugar beet prices on the floor the mood among many farmers is pretty gloomy - but one Norfolk business believes this low point is just the moment to invest in the crop and its future.

Norfolk Brewhouse team

County growers, maltsters and brewers are teaming up to create a truly Norfolk ale to celebrate Norwich City of Ale 2015.

Easton College. Steve Adams

The Norfolk Livestock Market could be relocated, after it was announced that Norfolk is to host one of the new Food Enterprise Zones (FEZ).

Cattle at Roger Long's farm in Scarning undergoing routine tests for bovine TB. Picture: Matthew Usher

While the culling of badgers is causing controversy on the opposite side of the country, the regime for controlling the spread of bovine TB is still a major source of concern for livestock farmers here in East Anglia.

Norfolk farmer Andrew Spinks has won a grant from the Henry Plumb Foundation for his ingenious farming innovation - a trailer-drawn forklift. Pictured with his trailer/forklift and Stabiliser Cattle  Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

An inventive Norfolk livestock farmer is seeking to take his new machinery design down a more commercial track with the help of a business grant.

Steve and Sara Raven at their farm on Wisbech road, Westry, March. with equipment going up for auction. Picture: Steve Williams.

A self-confessed “workaholic” has been forced to sell his family farming business at the age of just 36 as he copes with a long-standing medical condition.

Teachers and casreers advisers visited Hirst Farms in Ormesby to learn about agricultural job opportunities.

A year on from a destructive fire, visitors were shown new livestock facilities built in the aftermath of the disaster as part of an event to raise awareness of farming careers.

A farmer ploughing his field near Aylsham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

An online-only government computer system designed to process vital EU subsidy grants for farmers has been abandoned in favour of paper forms after continued technical difficulties.

The 2014 Spring Fling, held at the Royal Norfolk Showground. Ava Goffart, 6, meets an alpaca. Picture: Denise Bradley

For thousands of children, it will be a day with all the ingredients for some Easter holiday fun – and a chance to learn about the bounty of food and drink produced by their home county.

A farmer ploughing his fields at Ridlington.  PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Farmers have welcomed a budget commitment aimed at helping them weather the storms of volatility in their industry by smoothing out the peaks in their tax bills.

A Massey Ferguson tractor 1250 dating from 1979 fetched a record price when it went under the hammer recently near Bury St Edmunds.

The hunt is on to find Britain’s oldest working tractor - and the EDP wants to find the oldest working piece of farming machinery in East Anglia.

A shopper looking at fresh produce in a supermarket. Picture read: PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos.

Small East Anglian food firms are resisting dealing with supermarkets because of cultural reasons rather than financial barriers, according to a new survey.

Easton College. Steve Adams

Three key areas of agriculture, research and food production in East Anglia could become Food Enterprise Zones (FEZs) after the region’s bid was submitted to government.

Nick Allen, Sector Director for Eblex, Kevin Burrows of C & K Meats of Eye, Ed Bedington editor of Meat Trades Journal.

A determined and direct approach to building export links has raised the turnover at a family-run meat firm near Diss – and secured the company an industry accolade.

Brooke Harris

Members of the farming community came from as far afield as Cumbria to pay their respects to Brooke Harris whose funeral took place on Tuesday at a packed Salhouse church.

Catherine Temple with her Binham Blue. Picture by: Matthew Usher.

What do Cornish pasties, Melton Mowbray pork pies, Staffordshire cheese and Rutland bitter have in common?

Edge Spring Conference 2015 - (from left), Clarke Willis, Dr David Llewellyn, Dan Corlett, Alastair Taylor, Richard Hirst, Will Hinton and Martin Collison. Photo by Keiron Tovell

A serious skills crisis is looming for the food and farming industry unless it can reinvent itself to win the “hearts and minds” of youngsters at all tiers of education.

Sisters-in-law Linn, left, and Lara Clabburn, who have set up LaSS (Ladies and Shooting Society) for ladies to learn shooting, working with dogs, and enjoying champagne in the countryside, pictured with their dogs, Mister, left, and Teef. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

An enterprising pair with farming and business in their blood have set up a women-only shooting club combining guns, bubbles, dogs and lunch.

Norfolk Young Farmers Skills Initiative launch. Pictured: Young farmers at work in March 2015.

Norfolk’s Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFC) have launched a new £70,000 skills fund to distribute cash raised to mark the organisation’s 70th anniversary.

Inder Poonaji, Head of Sustainability at Nestlé UK & Ireland

The challenges of reducing water wastage in food processing factories and safeguarding precious supplies for farms were discussed during an industry seminar in Wisbech.

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