Antibiotics in Food
A new report has found that supermarkets may be selling imported meat, dairy products and eggs produced using antibiotics banned in this country. All supermarkets have a policy of ending the prophylactic use of antibiotics in the food chain but most only apply this to fresh home-produced foods and not imported or process foods. Antibiotic use on UK farms halved between 2014 and 2020 but other countries lag behind.
Farming Investment Fund
The Farming Investment Fund has a budget of £27 million and is made up of two grant schemes, The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund and the Farming Transformation Fund. The application window for the former opened on 16th November and runs to 7th January 2020. Farmers can claim grants of up to £25,000 in the first window and up to £50,000 over the lifetime of the scheme. There are 119 items on the list for which grants are available including slurry separators, direct drills, slurry application equipment, rainwater harvesting equipment and solar powered electric fences. Each item has a set grant whatever the farmer pays for the item; for example £7,613 for a slurry separator. The Framing Transformation Fund is for more substantial items, initially focused on water management such as crop irrigation or on-farm reservoirs.
Pigs still being slaughtered for lack of labour
Large numbers of pigs are still being killed and rendered due to a backlog at processing plants caused by a lack of labour. A figure of 14,000 has been mentioned but that is said to be a massive underestimate. Meantime, the Efra Committee chaired by Neil Parish MP has slated the Government for its totally inadequate response to the labour crisis in the food and farming sector.
600 million birds lost across Europe since the 1980s
A report from RSPB and Birdlife International has found that populations of birds have fallen by around 600 million across Europe in the past forty years. Total losses of 900 million are offset by a gain of 340 million in some species. The biggest declines were in the 1980s and 1990s but numbers are still falling. The main cause is said to be the intensification of farming.