In an article for ITV News, farmer Gareth Barlow describes the tough year for the industry and calls for better contingency crisis planning
The cereal company Weetabix, based in Northamptonshire, has had to halt production on some products, after last year's poor wheat harvest.
The boss of Tesco has unveiled measures to avoid another horsemeat scandal, including buying more British meat and conducting its own tests.
Secretary of State at Defra, Owen Paterson, MP for North Shropshire, says sale of horse meat as beef was totally unacceptable.
He told the NFU conference in Birmingham.
"I am determined this criminal activity should be stopped."
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.
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."
Tesco has announced three measures designed to ensure that another horsemeat scandal does not happen.
Three products were withdrawn from the supermarket chain after one brand of burger was found to contain as much as 30% horsemeat in DNA tests. The measures are as follows:
- Import less meat from overseas
- Develop closer relationships with suppliers in the UK
- A new internal testing regime
A fish farmer is suing the Environment Agency for £2 million, claiming it allowed otters to swallow up his business.
Entrepreneur Brian Dobson, 60, went bust after otters ate thousands of fish brought in to build up the business, a court heard.
He was given planning permission to set up Waen Wen Fishery in the village of Tregarth, near Bangor, Gwynedd, in 1999.
Six lakes were dug to accommodate up to 20,000 carp and a partial harvest in late 2005 proved the scheme was coming along well.
Three years later he went to remove more fish to raise money to pay his mortgage only to discover all that was left were bones stripped bare.
He claims the Environmental Agency (EA) ruined his business by encouraging otters to breed in the nearby River Cegin.
Mr Dobson also claims the EA constructed otter holts to encourage an increase in the river's otter population.
An expert on otters dismissed that view today, claiming that the EA's actions had no effect on otter numbers.
But Mr Dobson is suing the EA accusing it of breaching its duty of care by failing to warn him of what it was doing.
Farmers are calling on the Government to develop a vaccine for the Schmallenberg virus which affects sheep and cattle.
As the lambing season starts farmers are starting to see the virus affecting flocks. The virus can result in stillborn and deformed offspring.
DEFRA say the disease causes between 2-5% of losses for farmers, but three farmers have told ITV News that they have lost between 20% and 50% of their herds.
the National Farmers Union is calling for more help from central Government.
The Government's Food Statistics Pocketbook shows the ongoing impact on UK families of food price rises. Between 2007 and 2012 just over half (51.8%) of food consumed within the UK was supplied domestically.
- After a long period of decline, food prices have risen in real terms by 12% over the past five years
- Fruit prices have risen 34% since 2007
- Falling household incomes mean 'food affordability' has been reduced by 20%
Between 2007 and 2010, the main response by UK households to food price rises was to buy less. Low income households bought:
- 25% less fruit
- 15% less vegetables
Global justice charity The World Development Movement has said financial speculation by banks and hedge funds in agriculture commodity markets are partly to blame for food cost rises and "could send prices soaring even higher. " Deborah Doane said:
"Food prices are rising steeply due to poor harvests, and if the 2008 food price crisis is anything to go by, we may see financial speculation driving prices up even further in the coming months."
“In the absence of effective regulation of the finance sector, banks and hedge funds are effectively gambling on food prices."
“Here in the UK, the poorest people are already cutting down on fresh fruit and vegetables because they can’t afford them. In developing countries, where people spend up to 90 per cent of their incomes on food, price spikes force millions of people to go hungry."