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Countryside Day shows children farming makes food

Schoolchildren were shown how flour becomes bread, how livestock are bought and sold and even how to pluck chickens at a countryside day designed to show them the origin of their food. Pupils from 40 schools attended the annual fair near Wooler in Northumberland.

Wooler Countryside Day
Children learn to identify grains - the theme of this year's show was "flour power" Credit: ITV
Wooler Countryside Day
Pupils were encouraged to pluck chickens and told about the process of preparing the meat Credit: ITV
Wooler Countryside Day
Children learn to identify different seeds, using them to paint pictures and make their own muesli Credit: ITV

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Schmallenberg vaccine is result of 'intensive activity'

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has licensed veterinary pharmaceutical company MSD Animal Health to provide the "Bovolis SBV" vaccine for animals affected by the Schmallenberg virus.

VMD chief executive Pete Borriello said:

This is the culmination of intensive activity on the part of MSD Animal Health and the VMD to make a safe and effective vaccine available to tackle Schmallenberg.

Without in any way compromising the scientific rigour of our assessment process, we accelerated our assessment so that a vaccine will be available this summer.

This means it will be possible to vaccinate sheep and cattle before most of them become pregnant. This is important as it is during pregnancy when exposure to the virus can cause damage to the foetus.

Read: Analysis: Virus is unlikely to affect people, but cannot be ruled out

National

Schmallenberg virus vaccine for UK farmers

A new vaccine could be made available to farmers whose livestock has been affected by the Schmallenberg virus, it was announced today.

The virus, which emerged in the Netherlands and Germany in 2011 and causes severe birth defects and miscarriages, has been identified on more than 1,700 farms across the country.

UK farmers will be the first in the European Union to have access to the Schmallenberg vaccine Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Adult animals infected by virus-carrying midges, thought to have blown across the Channel, gave birth to deformed or stillborn lambs and calves.

UK farmers will be the first in the European Union to have access to the vaccine, which will be used this summer, before most animals become pregnant again.

Read: What is the Schmallenberg virus?

Increasing number of farmers seeking emergency aid

A farming charity says that an increasing number of farmers are coming to them for emergency aid to help them survive.

Stoker Frater is chairman of the Northumberland Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.

He told ITV News that many small farms have experienced their worst ever year and are struggling to stay afloat.

A bad harvest has led to a shortage of animal feed and the cold weather has meant many animals had to be reared inside.

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Shoppers called on to urgently help struggling farmers

The Fairtrade Foundation is launching a campaign to support 500 million farmers worldwide struggling to survive despite producing 70% of the world's food.

The campaign warns that if this continues, many foods we take for granted could be in jeopardy - like coffee, tea, chocolate, bananas and sugar.

The public are also being asked to show their support by signing a virtual petition where they can turn themselves into foldable `mini-marchers' with thousands of tiny figures set to hold their demonstration in Parliament Square on Monday (4th March).

The campaign calls on the public to sign a petition to help struggling smallholder famers around the world facing a fight for survival due to unfair trading practices by big food businesses.

The five point plan of the campaign is as follows:

  • Putting farmers first
  • Ensuring a fair share of value chains
  • Giving fair access to finance
  • Building future-proofed farming
  • Increasing the focus of government

Full Report: Farming in crisis

Farmers are calling for fresh thinking from the Government following England's wettest summer on record which has threatened to send many businesses under.

The NFU says disastrous yields in 2012 have led to a 1.3 billion pound black hole.

It comes as the Met Office predicts more frequent spells of extreme weather in the long term which could have drastic affects on the industry.

You can see the full report from Helen Pearson below.

Northumberland combine harvester scrapyard largest in UK

The UK's largest combine harvester scrapyard in Northumberland Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

This incredible picture shows the largest combine harvester 'graveyard' in the UK, at a farm in Northumberland.

John Manners set up the business in the 1970s, buying old machines and selling their parts to order.

Today he has more than 350 combine harvesters and sends components around the globe.

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