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Farming Today

Farmng Today This Week - Forestry

Sybil Ruscoe heads out into the glorious woods at Lydney Park Estate in the Forest of Dean, as Farming Today concludes its focus on forestry - from trees on farms, to the health of planting projects. She meets Head Forester Chris Waskett, to discuss the site and forestry more broadly in Britain today; before visiting the on-site sawmill to find out about booming demand for timber. Meanwhile Richard Greenhouse from the Forestry Commission talks about the state of woodland in the UK today; and reporter Clare Worden finds out more about agro-forestry. Presented by Sybil Ruscoe, produced by Lucy Taylor.

Labour Animal Welfare Manifesto, River Severn Salmon, Agroforestry

The Labour party has published a new fifty-point manifesto for animal welfare. It includes a review of so-called "mega-farms" and a ban on farrowing crates and all caged hens. Sybil Ruscoe asks Labour's Defra Shadow Secretary of State, Sue Hayman, how it would work. A traditional fisherman has won his fight for compensation after the Environment Agency drastically cut the number of fish he's allowed to catch. Nigel Mott has been catching salmon using a 'putcher rank' with conical baskets for over 40 years. In 2012, officials cut his catch allowance from 600 a year to just 30. His fight for compensation under human rights legislation has now been upheld by the Supreme Court, but he says it's the end of traditional salmon fishing on the Severn. Farming Today continues its week-long look at forestry, with a visit to a Cambridgeshire farm which has embraced agroforestry - growing trees alongside traditional arable crops. Presented by Sybil Ruscoe and produced by Emma Campbell.

Promoting tree planting, the National Forest, Rural reverend, Soya

All this week Farming Today is exploring the future for woodlands and forests in the UK. Twenty-five years ago, a patch of reclaimed colliery land in North West Leicestershire became the site of an ambitious tree-planting project that aimed to transform two-hundred square miles of countryside into a new forest. Today, millions of trees have been planted - many of them on land that was once used for farming livestock or crops. Ben Jackson has been speaking to Paul and Ed Milner, from Upper Park Farm. Meanwhile Anna Hill speaks to Austin Brady from TheWoodland Trust about how far tree-planting has come, in the past quarter of a century. Today, woodland covers 3.17 million hectares in the UK - around 13% of the total land area - and the 2017 Conservative manifesto pledged to plant 11 million trees over the next five years, with an additional one million in towns and cities. So just how is that plan progressing? The Church of Scotland has recently appointed its first ever dedicated "farming minister", to help support people living in rural communities and working in agriculture. Reverend Chris Blackshaw visits farms across Ayrshire, to provide support and counselling to farming families facing tough times. No mean feat - as Nancy Nicolson discovered, when she met up with him at Ayr Market. Each year, the UK imports millions of tonnes of soya - as beans, meal and flour - from countries all over the world. Most of it goes into animal feed. But with the growing demand for tofu and soya 'milk', farmers are now looking at soya as a new opportunity, here in the UK. Only five thousand tonnes of soya beans were produced in the UK last year. A tofu and soya-milk-drink maker in Norwich has just become the first manufacturer and retailer to source all the soya beans they use, not just from the UK, but from 'just down the road'. Anna Hill went to visit farmer Richard Cole at Tivetshall St Mary, who grew the beans for the tofu shop - as well as chatting to Steve Lepper from Tofurei in Norwich.

Trade outside the EU, Scottish forestry, global farming

The UK's trade deals with countries outside the EU are significant; according to latest statistics from Defra, overseas food and drink exports account forĀ£22 billion pounds a year. A Trade Bill is currently working its way through the parliamentary system, that aims to let the UK to keep the current global trade agreements it has as a member of the European Union after Brexit. However that stance has come in for criticism from the International Chamber of Commerce. Anna Hill speaks to Chris Southworth, the organisation's Secretary General, to find out how the UK can compete with other countries, including the EU, on world markets. She also hears from Julian Marks, managing director of Sussex-based firm Barfoots - which grows vegetables in theUK and abroad - about how they're preparing for international trade post-Brexit. Forestry is a mainstay of the Scottish economy: it's currently worth a billion pounds a year and supports around 25,000 jobs. Thinning woodland is an integral part of forestry, and demand for the timber is currently very strong: the UK produces only about 40% of the wood it needs and imports the rest, so prices are high. But it's not just sawmills that are after that timber: the move towards biomass energy - the burning of wood for heat and power - is putting pressure on more established markets such as the chipboard industry. Moira Hickey has been to Darnaway Estate to meet Ben Clinch, woodlands manager for Moray Estates. A new programme called The Global Farm kicks off on Radio 4 this morning, with Charlotte Smith looking at the extraordinary web of food chains around the world, that keeps us supplied with more or less whatever we want to eat, whenever we want it. How do they work, who makes money - and do we want them to be this complicated? Find out here at 11am, or later on via the BBC iPlayer. Presented by Anna Hill; produced by Lucy Taylor.

Fox-hunting regulation, Forestry, Wheat stem rust

The issue of how fox-hunting is policed is under scrutiny, amid concerns about the number of foxes being killed illegally. Since 2005, fox-hunting with a pack of hounds has been banned in England and Wales - instead, one way packs of dogs can still be used is by following a specially laid scent trail. But it's controversial - because even when hounds follow a set trail, the pack can potentially be distracted by the scent of a real fox. Opponents claim this is a loophole in the law that allows fox-hunting to continue. Last week, Lincolnshire Police were called to investigate an incident where a fox was killed by a pack of hounds - while Cheshire MPs say reports of foxes being killed illegally have increased this year; they're launching a review of how the county's hunts are policed. BBC Cheshire's Political Reporter Phil McCann has more on the story. Today, around 13% of the UK is covered with trees - but that figure is set to get a boost with various new planting projects, including the 'Northern Forest' of 50 million trees between Liverpool and Hull, and promises in the government's recent 25-Year Environment Plan to support the creation of large woodlands. This week, Farming Today is focusing on all things forestry, from on-farm planting to the timber sector. Sybil Ruscoe chats to Richard Greenhouse from the Forestry Commission about the state of our woodlands today. Wheat stem rust was pretty much wiped out in the UK 60 years ago. There was an isolated case in 2013, but none since then. However, cases have been reported more recently in Germany and Sicily. It's usually transmitted via windborne spores - but now it's been found reproducing on wild barberry plants in Sweden; and they are often planted by conservation groups in the UK to encourage the rare Barberry Carpet Moth. Scientists at the John Innes Centre in Norwich are now working to ensure that efforts to save the moth don't also endanger wheat fields. Anna Hill visited the Centre's glasshouses with Dr Diane Saunders. Presented by Sybil Ruscoe; produced by Lucy Taylor.

Farming Today This Week: Farming in Scotland

Farming Today This Week's summer series, shining a light on food and farming practices in different regions of the UK, finishes up in Scotland - more specifically, at the bustling Lairg lamb sale. Nancy Nicolson soaks up the atmosphere and chats to auctioneer David Leggat, who's sold lambs at the site for decades, about the current market for sheep farmers and buyers; John Fyall, chair of the National Sheep Association in Scotland about industry's dependence on European markets and recent calls for lynx to be released in several sites across Scotland; Joyce Campbell, a farmer and entrepreneur based in North Sutherland, who also sits on the new government task-force focusing on women in agriculture; and buyer John Roberts, who's travelled to the sale all the way from North Wales. Nancy also finds out more about the ingredients that go into Scotch whisky - not all of which are sourced from Scotland - with farmer Gordon Rennie, discusses the world of crofting with Crofting Federation chairman Russell Smith, and hears from reporter Richard Baynes on government plans to give the country's wild beavers protected status.