NSA Weekly Update Friday 4th March 2016

By Suffolk Sheep Society 7th March, 2016

Round up of all the latest news from the National Sheep Association

NSA Weekly Email Update
Friday 4th March 2016

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INDEX (click link to go to story or scoll down to read all)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NSA CALLS FOR ACTION FOLLOWING RELEASE OF FARMGATE PRICE REPORT: This week saw the release of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee’s report into farmgate prices. This report is the results of an enquiry the committee made into the issue after several years of extreme price volatility in all sectors of the farming industry. NSA is now calling for real action in light of the recommendations made. Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “The report outlines some valuable recommendations that could work to address this, including several based on evidence NSA gave during the enquiry. These include further development of export opportunities, as well as displacing imports through greater domestic trade, setting up producer organisations and establishing futures markets for red meat as well dairy produce.” A year of particularly low farmgate prices, coupled with delivery challenges with the new Basic Payment Scheme in all parts of the UK, has clearly left many farmers in severe financial difficulty. Expressing concern over the uncertainty that would surround an exit from the EU, Mr Stocker adds: “In the event of a Brexit, this financial support may be at risk and I am concerned it could be phased out. Producers rely on CAP payments to hedge income and, as the report has shown, farmgate prices often aren’t high enough to support a sustainable business. Whether we opt in or out of Europe, any attempt to change the support system should be avoided.” Read the full story on the NSA website here. Differing viewpoints from the agricultural press have also emerged in light of the report’s release this week; read what the agricultural press is saying here.

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NEW SCOPS TOOL HIGHLIGHTS NEMATODIRUS RISK NATIONWIDE: While the arrive of snow in some parts of the UK this week means spring still seems a little way off, the weather is heading towards being warmer and that means the risk of the nematodirus parasite affecting lamb is increasing. As a result, SCOPS has launched a new and improved online forecasting tool for nematodirus. The forecast map, which is being updated daily, will allow UK sheep farmers to keep visiting throughout the high risk period during spring and into early summer to determine the level of risk of an outbreak and allow action to be taken before it’s too late. Treatment and management advice is also available. The newly improved service can be viewed here. And further details here.
 

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MOVEMENT REPORTING ON CATTLE IN SCOTLAND COULD IMPACT STANDSTILL PERIOD: Representing NSA at a meeting on the current Cattle Tracing System (CTS) rules in Scotland, NSA Scottish Region Development Officer George Milne reports that the rules as they stand are set to come to an end by the end of 2016. He says: “Currently CTS links allow keepers to move cattle without reporting the move to the central database. The Scottish Government eventually intend to operate a cattle movement database though Scot EID, which will allow movements to be recorded from the main holding to all other holdings used. From a sheep industry’s point of view there will be no change to current rules, but we will need to watch what changes take place to avoid possible tightening up of sheep movements between holdings and also keep a close eye on standstill restrictions and exemptions.”

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OPTIONS FOR SUPPORT DISCUSSIONS IN NI: Representatives from NSA NI Region met this week with the Dard policy division, including Norman Fulton (pictured in the centre) and RosemaryAgnew (to his left). The options for future support to Areas of Natural Constraint (formerly SDAs and DAs) were up for discussion. Edward Adamson, NSA NI Region Development Officer, reports: “Norman and Rosemary explained seven different possible options and the impact they would have. The most likely options are to look at the standard output of the wards or the gross value added output.” Edward and other members of the NSA NI Region committee will be studying these options further in order to make a response before 29th April. NSA members in NI who wish to feed onto this response can contact Edward at edward.adamson1@googlemail.com.

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CO-OP DECISION HIGHLIGHTS UPCOMING CHALLENGES: Challenges and opportunities within the UK food retail sector are illustrated by reports this week via QMS that the Co-operative’s food division is cutting the cost of more than 200 own brand British-sourced meat and poultry products. Cuts are by an average 10% but up to 50% in some cases. The retailer has also announced it is to make greater use of British lamb in its retail offers. Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, comments: “This is very interesting and potentially very encouraging, in that the Co-op appears to be creating a closer alignment between farmgate and retail prices, by bringing retail prices down. This should help increase volumes sold while not putting pressure on farmgate prices, and could start a wider trend amongst other retailers. The crucial role of the processors should not be forgotten here and they are already working hard to optimise the value of the whole carcase through establishing markets for segregated products on a global scale, by starting to invest in more product development that will attract more purchases and help add value. The aim in all this has to be to achieve a fair margin for all three players, the farmer, the processor and the retailer, and NSA will watch with interest to see what impact this decision has.”

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REMINDER ON EXPIRY OF ANTHRAX RESTRICTION ZONE: NSA would like to remind members that the 50km restriction zone, put in place after the outbreak of anthrax in October 2015, is due to expire on Wednesday 27th April 2016. After this date there will no longer be a requirement to submit the associated declaration forms when moving livestock. Members may remember these controls came about because of assurances required by China. Chinese authorities are due to visit the UK to inspect our controls on hides, skins and wool exported to China. Defra is therefore suggesting the sheep industry should develop a robust traceability system for future market assurance, which NSA will be discussing with the department in due course.

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SHEEP CARCASE FEEDBACK BEING TRIALLED: NSA is in the process of responding to a Food Standards Agency consultation on a new system for feeding carcase rejection information back to farmers. NSA is very supportive of the Collection and Communication of Inspection Results (CCIR) proposals for information on total and partial rejections – and so we are pleased to see details this week of a trial in 10 sheep abattoirs across England and Wales. The aim is to improve information exchange between animal producers and meat processors and the trial, which also involves a new electronic system for CCIR, is part of a joint project involving AHDB Beef & Lamb and FSA. The partnership says a more efficient and effective approach to the farm-to-fork information cycle will improve public health, animal health and animal welfare.

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VIEWS ON SHEEP SCAB IN WALES WANTED:NSA is aware of the impact sheep scab has on the industry and is therefore supporting a survey set up jointly by the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework (AHWF) and Welsh Government. NSA has uploaded the details to Survey Monkey to allow members and interested parties in Wales to respond online. Responses are anonymous and will be fed directly to AHWF/Welsh Government, unless you choose to volunteer your contact details. We encourage you to complete the survey here.

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NSA WEEKLY EMAIL UPDATE ADVERT (more content below):-

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FARMERS IN ENGLAND WANTED FOR TB ADVISORY GROUP: While TB is primarily a bovine issues, NSA wanted members to be aware that Defra is seeking new members for its Bovine TB Eradication Advisory Ground in England. Applications will be favoured from people with strong links to dairy/beef production (in high or low TB risk areas) and/or possession of veterinary expertise, animal health or scientific expertise on TB. Alternatively, applicants could have wider countryside expertise and/or have an interest in consumer issues relating to the beef/dairy supply chain. Full details and application packs can be found here.

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HCC SEEKS TO BOOST EXPORTS OF WELSH LAMB: A team of Welsh red meat exporters will meet buyers at a major trade fair in Denmark this weekend as part of the ongoing work HCC Is doing to boost exports of Welsh Lamb products into key European territories. Processors from Wales with openings into the Danish retail marketplace will meet more than 400 exhibitors and a potential 25,000 visitors representing restaurants, hotels and foodservice outlets from Denmark. Another 29 are also set to attend the three-day event.

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HIGH HOPES FOR NEW LIVESTOCK INNOVATION CENTRE: Launched this week, the Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIELivestock), will aim to bring together representatives from the food industry and academic researchers to advance the productivity of the UK livestock industry. CIELivestock has been allocated significant funding from the Government’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills, plus extensive investment from participating research institutions to set up state-of-the-art facilities across the UK, providing the livestock industry with greatly improved access to research. CIEL will be hosting a day specifically for industry members in May 2016 and a wider industry conference in the autumn. Further information and details of these events can be found in due course here.

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SHEEP THEME CONTINUES IN THE MEDIA: Regular NSA Weekly Email Update readers may have seen a range of sheep themed programmes reported on in last Friday’s newsletter, including BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme which has themed its programmes this week entirely on sheep. Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, was featured on Monday’s programme and can be heard here (about 7.10 into the programme) and highlights of the whole week can be heard on the Saturday edition of the show at 6.30am tomorrow. NSA arranged for Farming Today to also record with two of the NSA Next Generation Ambassadors last week, which we hope will be aired in the near future. Many members will have seen the feature on sheep worrying by dogs in last Sunday’s edition of Countryfile. It was really positive to see this very important issue given a slot on the show, although we were slightly disappointed that all the NSA-Farmers Guardian-Take The Lead information provided to the producers was not included. If you missed the programme it is available on BBC iPlayer for the next couple of weeks. You can also view the extensive archive of information NSA has gathered on the issue of dog attacks on sheep at www.nationalsheep.org.uk/dog-owners. Much further from home, but equally as pertinent to the sector, an interview Phil did with the New Zealand Farmers Weekly also appeared this week – see page 3 of the online copy. The magazine contacted NSA in response to suggestions in NZ of a joint NZ-UK lamb marketing campaign. This is an emotive topic, especially given the increased pressured from NZ important in 2015, and NSA will be discussing it at the UK Policy and Technical Committee meeting next week.

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FARMERS FOR ACTION HEAD TO LONDON:The farming lobby group, Farmers for Action, is organising a march in London on Wednesday 23rd March which will aim to represent all sectors of the farming industry. Organisers are hoping the event will promote to the public why farming is so important in keeping countryside thriving in a way that allows everyone to enjoy it. Full details of the march can be found on the Farmers for Action website here.

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SHAWG CONFERENCE DATE ANNOUNCED: The date of the Sheep Health and Welfare Group (SHAWG) biennial conference has been announced as Wednesday 16th November at the Sixways Stadium, Worcester. The inaugural event in 2012 was held at this venue, followed by the second conference in 2014 at Stafford. NSA will let members know once bookings are being taken.

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LAMBING COURSE AVAILABILITY: Due to a last-minute cancellation, NSA members Dot and Tim Tyne have a vacancy on the annual lambing course they run from their farm at Pwllheli, Gwynedd, from Tuesday 15th to Saturday 19th March. Details at www.viableselfsufficiency.co.uk/brochure; contact Dot on nfo@viableselfsufficiency.co.uk to enquire about the reduced rate available.

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THREE MONTH PLACEMENT SOUGHT, ANYWHERE IN THE UK:Trevor Duncan (19) from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, is seeking a three-month placement from 1st June 2016. He is willing to work anywhere in the UK, so long as accommodation can be provided. Trevor, who is currently in the process of completing a Foundation Degree in Agriculture and Rural Studies, has grown up on a farm and has experience of working with both sheep and cattle. He describes himself as confident in handling livestock and all associated tasks, adding that the sheep sector is the one he is most interested in working within. Trevor holds a full driving licence and has his own vehicle. References can be provided. Contact Trevor on 07716 126248 or trevorduncan120@yahoo.co.uk.

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NSA WEEKLY EMAIL UPDATE ADVERT (diary of events below):-


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 NSA DIARY OF EVENTS

 

1 Comments

Rob Dunsford

Fantastic article - really enjoyed reading.

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