Rural Affairs Secretary to meet with struggling farmers
The Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead is meeting with farmers who have been affected by the severe weather over the past few weeks.
Mr Lochhead will hear about the challenges farmers are facing after losing stock and struggling to source food.
He is visiting a farm near Gatehouse of Fleet that has endured difficult circumstances recently.
"I know the severe winter weather parts of Scotland has experienced has been devastating for our farmers, particularly as it's come at lambing time and when they are also dealing with rising feed costs and demand for more feed.
"When the severe weather struck, the Scottish Government acted quickly, holding emergency discussions with the industry to put in place help and equipment on the ground as well as providing £500,000 support to assist with fallen stock costs."
Horse meat in burgers "damages reputation of food industry"
Commenting on the discovery of horse meat found in supermarket burgers, NFU Scotland Communications Director Bob Carruth said:
Scottish farmers will continue to supply the food chain in the firm and justifiable belief that all meat that goes into a beef burger should be beef. Consumers expect no less. The undisclosed inclusion of horsemeat in some value beef burgers damages the reputation of our food industry and must prompt an immediate investigation of supply chains in place at home and abroad.
While assurances on the safety of the product have been provided,consumers buying such beef burgers have been seriously misled on the quality and provenance of their food.
That is a spectacular own goal for parts of our food sector and doesn't reflect on the fantastic job being done by Scottish beef farmers in providing the market with fresh, tasty, traceable, assured beef.
Farmers in the Scottish Borders say they are concerned after traces of horse and pig meat were found in beef burgers.
The Irish Food Safety Authority tested 27 beef burgers, from 5 British supermarkets, including Tesco and Iceland.
10 burgers tested positive for horse DNA, and 23 tested positive for pig DNA.
The products were tested at 2 factories in the Irish Republic, and 1 in North Yorkshire.
One processing company says its suppliers in Europe may be responsible.
Farmers fear the situation could have a knock on effect.
Robert Neill farms at Upper Nisbet Farm near Jedburgh. He said: "We have to trust everybody throughout the whole process of supplying meat.
Farmers are just the start of the process, but unfortunately if something like this happens, we take the brunt of the knock on effect, whether it be production, consumers not eating, prices go down, so yes it is a worrying scenario at the moment."
An event is being held in Penrith to give farmers advice on how to deal with saturated soil, after one of the wettest seasons in years.
Farmers will be told how to reduce the impact of wet weather on soil health, with the aim of allowing soil to drain, which will encourge more grass to grow.
They say that the right action taken on farm land can reduce the amount of soil and nutrients being washing into rivers and streams, benefiting the farmer and environment.
"We hope that this event and the advice it provides will help farmers with water-logged soils to make the best of a bad job after such a wet year, and bring benefits to their business as well as local rivers."
– Chris West, Eden Rivers Trust Officer
The event is being run by a partnership of organisations, including Cumbria Farm Environment Partnership, Rural Skills Cumbria, Eden Rivers Trust and Catchment Sensitive Farming.
Cumbria police urge vigilance among rural communities
Cumbria police say more rural crime could be avoided is suspicious behaviour was reported to them before crimes are committed.
They say too often suspicious behaviour is seen but not reported until after a crime has been carried out.
Chief Constable of Cumbria Constable, Mr Stuart Hyde said:
“Officers investigating thefts in rural locations often tell me that victims and their neighbours indicate that someone was seen acting suspiciously in the hours or days leading up to the crime, and that if only someone had called the police it may have been prevented.
“We want to encourage farmers, indeed all residents and workers in the county, to report suspicious activity. It may not lead to an arrest, but it could prevent someone becoming a victim of crime."
Cumbria Constabulary say it recognises that successful policing relies on the support of residents and in particular timely reporting of crimes and incidents to police officers. They say without information and intelligence, the targeting and prosecution of criminals is severely restricted.
Cumbrian MP calls for the Government to help dairy farmers
The Westmorland and Lonsdale MP, Tim Farron, has accused supermarkets and other big buyers of "appalling exploitation" of dairy farmers following recent cuts in the price per litre paid to dairy farmers.
Mr Farron claimed that prices were now 6p per litre lower than the cost of production and was putting the long term future of many farmers in doubt.
The Food Minister, James Paice, said the cuts were a heavy blow and said he was willing to 'bang heads together' but added that it wasn't for ministers to actually set the price.
This is the full dialogue from the House of Commons:
Mr Farron's office says that in May 2012, four major dairy processors: Dairy Crest, Robert Wiseman, Arla and Muller, announced a cut of 2p a litre in the price paid to dairy farmers for milk, which on its own could cost some dairy farmers up to £20,000 per year.
They say this has inexplicably been followed by a further cut of 1.7ppl by Robert Wiseman, 2.0ppl by Arla, 1.65ppl by Dairy Crest, which will take effect from 1st August 2012.