Gleanings - AF Weekly news summary
24th January 2024

Here’s what caught our eyes and ears in the agri news from UK and further afield in the last week.


Brexit brings threat to fruit and produce

The Guardian reported last week on the ‘…“existential threat” from new post-Brexit border checks that could damage business and affect next year’s crops…’

Under new rules coming into place on 30th April the government intends to check 100% of consignments coming through the new border posts, rather than ‘some’ consignments, as they do currently.

As UK soft fruit, tomato and tree fruit growers are reliant on young plant stock from Holland, their operations could be devastated by delays at the border, as receiving plants in peak condition is clearly vital.

Farmer groups are lobbying government, but time is short for new rules or guidance to be brought in to protect growers.


RABI winter fuel grant

The good folk at RABI have launched a winter fuel grant to help working and non-working farming households struggling with escalating fuel and energy prices this winter. They say “We understand the resilience of the farming community, being out in all weather and temperatures. This winter, through no fault of their own, many farming people face having no respite from the cold due to the ramifications of the cost-of-living crisis.”

The grant is £400 per household and can be applied for directly through their website. The link is here.


Poultry farmers win bird flu case against APHA at the High Court

A group of poultry farmers has won backing for their argument that the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) wrongly interpreted the law underpinning its compensation scheme, and failed to properly compensate affected farmers for birds that were healthy at the point at which it decided they should be culled.   

APHA had been agreeing and paying compensation for culling healthy birds on farms and in protection zones at the point that they were culled, and not at the time they were condemned. This sounds like a fine margin, but due to the overwhelming number of cases there were often long delays between condemning healthy birds and culling, during which time a lot of birds became infected with AI and then fell outside of the compensation criteria. This clearly resulted in significant losses to poultry farmers.

It’s good to see common sense prevail, and the serving of justice for farmers whose livelihoods are under threat by no fault of their own.


New landowners

More than half of farms bought in 2023 were sold to non-farming buyers, chiefly private investors, institutions and lifestyle buyers. Only 44% of offered land was sold to farmers. This according to Strutt & Parker who record the sales of farms 100 acres and over.

The average price paid for arable land in England rose 4% to £11,300/acre with 70% being over £10,000/acre. Pasture land went for between £4,000 and £16,100/acre (the latter presumably accounted for by the lifestyle brigade!) averaging at £8,700/acre.


Tweet of the week

We had to share this fabulous photo spotted on the FarmingUK X feed of a supremely confident young farmer (and a very well-behaved bull!!)