Farming News

Two enormous tomato greenhouses are beginning to take shape in fields outside Norwich – part of a £120m project to establish East Anglia as a trailblazer for low carbon farming.

The creator of a highly successful café and maize maze farm diversification admits it was “heart-breaking” to close the venture down due to the coronavirus lockdown.

‘Lockdown’ patterns of buying food could be here to stay even after the pandemic is over, a north Norfolk meat farmer has said.

East Anglia’s sugar growers, processors and researchers are working together on a trial programme which will, for the first time, give farmers impartial information on all commercially-available seed technologies.

Countryside footpaths are attracting unprecedented visitor numbers as lockdown restrictions are eased, but they must be used with respect for the farmers who provide them, says TOM CORFIELD, agricultural partner at Arnolds Keys – Irelands Agricultural.

Farming challenges which will shape the future of grasslands will be discussed at an online “virtual” meeting hosted by a Norfolk rural business network.

Anyone planning a visit to the East Anglian countryside during the bank holiday weekend has been urged to “act responsibly” by rural business leaders.

Farming leaders have demanded answers on how the government intends to honour its manifesto pledge not to undermine Britain’s high environmental and animal welfare standards in future trade deals.

Norfolk vegetable growers have paid their own unique tribute to the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic – by making a rainbow from 15,000 radishes.

The Prince of Wales has urged workers to join the “unglamorous but vital” effort to harvest fruit and vegetables – as ministers revealed that only a third of the usual migrant workforce is currently in the country.

Vineyards across the region are set to raise a glass to heroes of the coronavirus pandemic – by sending them a free bottle of local wine.

As part of a weekly diary, EMILY PARKER of the Gressenhall Farm Team reports on the latest springtime goings-on.

Late spring frosts have ravaged the region’s vineyards – with one Norfolk winemaker expecting to lose a quarter of his grape yield in an already-difficult year.

The reopening of Norwich Livestock Market has been hailed a success after its temporary coronavirus closure – although some disappointed farmers were turned away under the market’s strict new social distancing regime.

Amid mounting concerns that East Anglian farmers could be undercut by cheap post-Brexit food imports, a Norfolk MP said US trade offered “huge opportunity for all farmers”.

VAT on tourism businesses should be cut to 5pc to help the rural economy recover from the coronavirus crisis, said East Anglia’s countryside business leaders.

Frustrated East Anglian farmers said MPs missed a crucial opportunity to safeguard their industry against cheap, low-quality food imports as the government’s Agriculture Bill progressed through the Commons last night.

Conservative rebels have failed in their bid to guarantee standards for post-Brexit food imports as a major overhaul of farming policy cleared the Commons – despite some MPs accidentally voting the wrong way.

Farm-based attractions and the “outdoor economy” could lead the hospitality sector’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis while restaurants, cafés and pubs remain locked down, said a Norfolk fun park owner.

As part of a weekly diary, curator MEGAN DENNIS from Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse talks about Suffolk punches, turkeys and swifts.

East Anglia’s MPs have been urged to speak up for the region’s crucial food and farming industries ahead of tomorrow’s key debate on the UK’s post-Brexit agricultural policy.

Rare livestock enthusiasts in Norfolk have backed a campaign aiming to reverse the decline of native Longwool sheep breeds – by improving their breeding and encouraging more use of their meat and wool.

An “unprecedented” upsurge in people using farmland footpaths during the lockdown has prompted warnings for landowners to take steps to protect livestock and ensure public safety in the countryside.

Dairy farmers struggling to sell their milk during the coronavirus lockdown will each be able to access up to £10,000 of financial support, the government has announced.

While many farmers have felt the effects of a dry April, irrigation prospects across East Anglia remain “moderate to good” for this summer according to the latest environmental assessments.

A leading figure in East Anglia’s farming industry has announced she is stepping down from her key regional role to start a new life in France.

A popular summer event which was due to bring thousands of visitors onto farms across East Anglia before its lockdown postponement will be taken online as a virtual event instead.

Marauding muntjac deer are damaging Norfolk’s precious bluebell woods while the lockdown hampers culls aimed at keeping their numbers in check, conservationists warned.

The East’s beet sugar industry has finally completed its longest-ever campaign – and it is celebrating above-average yields despite the challenges of a rain-affected season.

A cute three-year-old shepherdess who charmed more than a million people to become Norfolk’s newest viral internet star has been crowned a champion at an online show.

A grinning three-year-old shepherdess and her excitable sheep Ethel have become viral internet stars, with more than 1.4m views of a social media video described as “the cutest thing I have ever seen”.

The cancellation of events including the Royal Norfolk Show amid the coronavirus lockdown has left a void which an online agricultural show is hoping to fill this weekend, while raising money for good causes including Norfolk-based mental health charity YANA (You are Not Alone). Charity patron Melinda Raker, one of the virtual exhibitors, explains the value of such events to rural communities.

A 15-month project has been launched to explore how farms can capture carbon to combat climate change – and how they can be rewarded for it to replace revenue lost from EU subsidies.

A row over tractors driving through a Norfolk village erupted after one got stuck when trying to pass by a double-parked ambulance.

The characteristic crop which turns Norfolk fields into a sea of yellow each spring could be under threat in future without a “joined-up approach” to protect its viability, said farming leaders.

The coronavirus crisis has exposed the fragility of our food chains and proved the worth of East Anglia’s farmers – presenting a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to harness support for British food.

One of the country’s leading farmers is set to take part in a Norfolk rural business network’s first “virtual meeting” this evening.

A Norfolk cattle farmer is battling to keep up with rocketing demand for her beef during the lockdown – and she hopes it could signal a long-term change in food-buying habits after the coronavirus crisis ends.

Farmers struggling to break into the lucrative medical cannabis and hemp markets because of legal obstacles will be offered pointers by the experts.

Food producers are enjoying some well-earned appreciation during the coronavirus outbreak – but farmers shouldn’t expect that supportive sentiment to be translated into government policy as soon as the crisis is over says Charlotte Webster, senior rural surveyor at Arnolds Keys – Irelands Agricultural.

Farmers have been given an extra month to submit their claims for subsidy and environmental payments amid the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak.

More than 1,300 UK workers have applied to work on a large East Anglian soft fruit farm over the summer months in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown.

Some of the workers furloughed because of the coronavirus pandemic could be encouraged to take a second job to help farmers in Norfolk and Suffolk reap the summer harvest.

Animal rights protests at a Norfolk livestock market have cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds since they began three years ago, it can be revealed.

East Anglian farmers are facing another huge weather headache after a bone-dry spring sowing season.

Around 3,000 Norfolk-grown tulips were given to exhausted hospital staff at the end of their shift to show gratitude for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

Norwich Livestock Market is set to re-open with a strict new social distancing regime after changing its initial decision to suspend trading during the coronavirus lockdown.

Sugar beet farmers have been warned that a badly-timed spray of herbicides could damage their potential yields by up to 20pc – or even kill off young plants completely.

East Anglian farmers’ leaders are pleading with government to delay the implementation of a new subsidy system which will see direct payments for crop growing activities cut to zero over a seven-year period.

A £400,000 new butchery at a Norfolk farm will specialise in meat from rare breed livestock – and its owners hope the “very timely” development could also help meet lockdown demand for home-delivered food.

The government has launched its new “Pick for Britain” website to help farms recruit the seasonal workers they need to save the fruit and vegetable harvest during the coronavirus lockdown.

The beauty of Norfolk’s spring wildlife and landscapes has been captured by keen farming photographers – illustrating how the life and work of the countryside is continuing during the lockdown.

Plans for a major expansion of a Norfolk manufacturing firm have been criticised for being “out of keeping” with the village setting.

A Norfolk chef has teamed up with farmers to produce educational videos aimed at bringing countryside food knowledge into family homes during the lockdown.

Farming leaders have urged the government to delay the transition away from EU subsidies and offer immediate assistance to rural businesses with their environmental payments during the coronavirus pandemic.

Norwich scientists leading the fight against a “devastating” plant disease have welcomed tighter government controls on importing high-risk plants including olive trees.

A Norfolk manufacturer is set for a major expansion after plans for 50 homes, a warehouse, new road access and increased production capacity were unveiled.

The Red Tractor farm assurance scheme is preparing to carry out audits via video calls so remote assessments can continue throughout the coronavirus lockdown.

Most farmers believe the coronavirus crisis could ultimately “change agriculture for the better” after the current disruption and uncertainty subsides, according to an industry survey.

The fishing industry will receive a £10m government bailout after its markets in the UK and Europe collapsed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Advanced new ‘weather-tech’ and forecasting models can help East Anglian farmers manage one of the biggest traditional risks to their business, said industry experts.

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