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DEFRA minister at Royal Bath and West

DEFRA Minister Dan Rogerson is attending the CLA Business Breakfast at the Royal Bath and West Show where he's fielding questions about the badger cull and flooding.

Our reporter Laura Makin-Isherwood is in the audience. You can follow her tweets here.


Duchess of Cornwall among guests at Bath & West Show

The Duchess of Cornwall on a past visit ot the Bath & West Show Credit: ITV News West Country

Thousands of people are expected for the opening day of the 151st Royal Bath and West Show near Shepton Mallet. Among the visitors will be the Duchess of Cornwall, who will tour the livestock rings and the food hall.

Camilla is a strong supporter of local sourcing and ways to help children learn about where food comes from. The show attracts around 150,000 people over the four days

Owen Paterson to announce Flood Recovery Fund plan in Somerset

Owen Paterson is due to visit Somerset today Credit: PA

The Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, will be in Somerset this morning to announce the next phase of the flood recovery fund for farmers.

From 28 April, the Farm Recovery Fund will be open to applications for grants of up to £35,000.

Farmers will be able to apply for the cash to help cover the costs of restoring flood damaged agricultural land.

TB hits farm of Dorset badger cull campaigner

A Dorset farmer who campaigned for the Badger Cull to be extended into the county, has spoken of his despair at the discovery of TB on his farm.

This afternoon Paul Gould from West Stour began the heartbreaking task of loading a quarter of his prize cattle onto a lorry to be taken off for slaughter. Eli-Louise Wringe has spent the day on the farm and has this report.


Farm workers protest at MP's surgery in Frome

Farming Minister and Somerton & Frome MP David Heath Credit: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Farm workers are staging another protest this morning outside the Frome surgery of local MP and Farming Minister David Heath. Members of the Unite union are angry at plans to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board, which sets rates of pay and conditions for farm workers.

Unite says there are 26,000 agricultural workers in the South West, with 1,000 working in Mr Heath's constituency. The union held a similar protest last month.

Calls for Schmallenberg vaccine: full report

Sheep farmers are at crisis point. They say recent bad weather, low supermarket prices and now the return of the deadly Schmallenberg virus are threatening to put them out of business.

Schmallenberg causes birth defects in lambs. And while it was only discovered a year ago, farmers say the impact has been huge - 91 cases have been confirmed across Dorset and Somerset so far this year.

One farmer says if his sheep contract the virus his livelihood will be destroyed.

Tanya Mercer reports:

Calls for virus vaccine fast, as still births and deformities increase

The NFU is calling for a Schmallenberg virus vaccine fast Credit: CARSTENÂ REHDER

As sheep farmers in the region experience higher than normal losses, still births and deformities, the NFU says every effort must be made to ensure a vaccine is available later this year to help combat the spread of the deadly Schmallenberg virus.

The disease has spread across England and Wales to the Scottish border region, and has now been confirmed on more than 1,000 UK farms.

Although it is still being recognised by Defra and the European Commission as 'low impact' on a national scale, the cost for individual businesses can run into thousands of pounds.

It comes at the same time as lamb prices have hit their lowest level for three years and livestock producers are facing rising production costs due to the extreme weather in 2012.

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