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  1. Central

1,000 farmers attend NFU conference in Birmingham

1,000 farmers have gathered at the NFU conference in Birmingham to discuss what has been described as "a diabolical year".

Farmers across the region have been facing a whole number of problems - drought, floods, tuberculosis, HS2 running through their farms and the horse meat scandal.

They've heard how more food will have to be produced in England instead of being imported from other countries, because our population could increase by the equivalent size of "four Birmingham's" in the next eight years.

Farmers from across the Midlands have been talking to ITV News Central.

  1. National

NFU: Consumers want more British meat

More than three-quarters of consumers wants supermarkets to stock more food from British farms, according to a National Farmers' Union survey:

  • 78% said supermarkets should sell more food from British farms
  • 43% said they were more likely to buy traceable food from farms in Britain following the horsemeat scandal

A thousand people were polled by the union.


  1. National

NFU boss: Farmers 'furious' about horsemeat scandal

The head of the NFU has called for better labelling of British meat Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The head of the National Farmers' Union (NFU) has said farmers are "furious" about the horsemeat scandal.

Peter Kendall said that shorter supply chains and better labelling of British meat would help prevent a repeat.

He added: "Our research also demonstrates the strong demand for British-farmed products, and so retailers, processors and food service companies have a responsibility to ensure there is clear country of origin labelling on the products that consumers purchase."

NFU: 8 thousand fewer dairy farms than a decade ago

Dairy cows at a farm in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire Credit: Calendar News

The NFU says there were 19,000 dairy farms in England and Wales a decade ago. There are now 10,670 producers. 1,232 of those are based in the Midlands. The farming union is calling for urgent action to be taken over the cost of milk, to ensure farmers are paid more and can survive in the future.


Lincolnshire farmer needs 2p a litre more for milk to 'break even'

Michael Davenport, a dairy farmer based in Market Rasen, says he needs to be paid two pence a litre more for his milk 'to break even', or four pence a litre more to make a profit. Michael is one of many farmers who has diversified and now produces cheese at his farm to survive.

"There are four supermarkets who are paying cost of production plus. The others are continuing to just tell the milk processors what they're paying, and that's not acceptable. If they want their liquid milk they ought to be paying a fair price. The feed I have to buy in has gone up by thirty pounds a tonne."

– Michael Davenport - Lincolnshire Dairy Farmer

NFU: "Farmers still not paid enough for their milk"

Michael Davenport is a Dairy Farmer in Lincolnshire Credit: Calendar News

The NFU says dairy farmers are still not being paid enough money for their milk. The union says the high cost of feed for cows is causing major problems in the industry at the moment, combined with the negative effects of the bad weather. There are now 8330 fewer dairy farms than 10 years ago.

High running costs and low supermarket prices put dairy farmers under pressure

The NFU says dairy farmers still aren't being paid enough money for their milk, despite protests last year. The high cost of feed and shortage of straw are also thought to be having a knock on effect on farmers, as well as varying supermarket prices.

One farmer has told Calendar that only the really big farms and small family ones are making any money, and that many are desperately trying to cut costs.

Warning over rural crime

There is a warning for farmers and rural landowners to review their security arrangements in a bid to reduce thefts of equipment and vehicles from farms in the region.

At this time of year, with its short days and long nights, there is always an increase in countryside crime. With the added catalysts of a fragile economy and belt-tightening measures for many families this year, we are already starting to see a swell of rural criminal offences such as theft and fly-tipping.

Crime in rural areas takes many forms and is made easier for the perpetrator by the relative isolation of homes and businesses, a maze of county lanes unmonitored by CCTV, lack of street lighting, miles of legal public access close to properties and low visible police presence.

– Dorothy Fairburn, CLA North Regional Director

The CLA is advising farmers and landowners to take simple steps to protect themselves and their property such as not leaving tools lying around, ensuring keys are removed from vehicles and that sheds and other outbuildings are properly secured.

Rural residents off the mains gas supply grid, who rely on heating oil are also being urged to protect their supplies by install locks on tank filler/vent caps and checking tank levels on a regular basis to ensure fuel is not being siphoned off.

We are urging our members to have a look around their premises with a thief's eye, to identify vulnerable spots and areas in permanent darkness. Anyone who needs further help should contact the crime prevention officer at their local police station or talk to a specialist security company. And last but by no means least - if you see a crime, report it.

– Dorothy Fairburn, CLA North Regional Director
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