Building on a solid foundation: Improving knowledge exchange in arable farming
The Agricultural Industries Confederation, HGCA, AICC and landbridge are hosting a workshop focussed on knowledge exchange in the arable sector on Tuesday 23 September at the Marriott Hotel in Peterborough. The aim of the workshop is to identify how existing models of knowledge exchange in the arable sector can be built upon. There are plans to hold a workshop for the livestock sector later in the year. The workshop will bring together researchers, professional advisers from across the industry, levy boards, and policy-makers with a view to developing solutions together to build on the solid foundation and improve knowledge exchange in arable farming.If you have any questions about the event or would like to reserve one of the last few remaining free places, contact Corrina Gibbs at AIC by Friday 12 September on 01733 385276 or email Corrina.Gibbs@agindustries.org.uk.
Practical Sustainability Assessment Workshop for dairy farmers
Elm Farm Organic Research Centre and the EU-funded ‘Sustainable Organic and Low Input Dairying’ project are hosting a workshop for UK dairy farmers on 24th September. The workshop will provide an overview of sustainability assessment methods and the various carbon footprinting tools available for UK dairy systems. It will also include new methods for including soil carbon changes and biodiversity indicators within sustainability assessments presented by John Hermansen and Marie Knudsen of Aarhus University. The day will consist of a mix of practical sessions (i.e. trying out existing tools and methods), feedback sessions and speaker presentations. Further details of how to book and a programme are available here.
New veterinary vaccinology network will help tackle threat of animal diseases, including those spreading to humans
The Biotechology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has funded a new multidisciplinary network of veterinary vaccinology experts to help in the fight against animal diseases, some of which have the potential to spread to humans. The UK Veterinary Vaccinology Network will draw together major UK research players to enhance the uptake of new technologies in order to design, develop and deliver safe and effective next-generation vaccines against new and (re)-emerging diseases. The network includes experts from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Cambridge Veterinary School, Edinburgh University, Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Moredun Research Institute, Oxford University, The Pirbright Institute, The Roslin Institute, The Royal Veterinary College and the University of Stirling. The Network has funding for 5 years (£300k) and they will report to BBSRC and provide input into developing the future research agenda.
Help for professionals who advise on managing water environment
From the 22nd of September the Environment Agency (EA) will be consulting on the updated River Basin Management Plans across England for a period of six months. Improving agricultural practice and so reducing diffuse pollution from rural areas will be an important opportunity for improving the water environment in the next six years. To help those who work directly with and advise farmers, the EA has, with the help of the agricultural industry developed the Key Actions that farmers need to consider in managing the water environment. This is targeted towards those organisations involved in providing advice to farmers. Further details of what the water quality position is in your local catchment can be found on the “what’s in your back yard” website, where you can also download the individual sections from the Key Actions.
The names of the 15 Agri-Tech Catalyst Award winning projects have been announced. In this first round of the competition, the winning projects will receive a share of £18 million of funding from government and industry to help accelerate agricultural innovation and their commercial viability. This includes £12.1 million funding from government (from the Technology Strategy Board/Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Department for International Development) with £5.7 million co-investment from industry. The winning projects are all led by UK companies and span 3 key areas of the agriculture sector – crops, livestock and aquaculture. Full details of the winning projects can be found here.
Defra awards 19 million pounds to help rural businesses
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has announced that more than 2,500 rural businesses are set to receive a share of 19 million pounds of government funding. This funding has been specifically designed to boost the competitiveness of rural farming and forestry businesses and it is believed that this extra funding will support around 5000 jobs across England. The funding is from the targeted Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS), part of the CAP-funded Rural Development Programme for England.
Could putting a value on coastal assets help to defuse conflict?
Coastal management can be a highly contested topic - a scheme to control erosion in one place may result in loss of beach frontage further down the coast. People value natural assets in different ways - one group of stakeholders may want to see changes that will benefit livelihoods but change the natural habitat and threaten species that other stakeholders hold dear. The latest Policy and Practice Note from LWEC, drawing on evidence from the Valuing Nature Network and UK National Ecosystem Assessment, tackles this issue head on, looking at how coastal assets may be valued and proposing a 'balance sheet' approach that could help.