Tag Archive for 'Agriculture'

The funny side of farming

I managed to hold it together until the stereo started blaring out “Where’s your sausage gone?” to the tune of ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’. It was at that point – stood outside Downing Street in front of a 16ft, shiny, hovering sausage – that I collapsed onto the floor in hysterical laughter. You have to […]

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A possible hairy situation for the NFU

Dear oh dear. I can’t image the NFU team are a bunch of happy bunnies at the moment. Having given DEFRA secretary Caroline Spelman a telling off this week for not taking farming seriously enough, this morning it’s emerged government plans for a badger cull to tackle bovine TB are being delayed. The setback until […]

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The DEFRA love-in turns sour

After the glamour of the Soil Association conference in Manchester last week, this week I’m at the NEC in Birmingham for the National Farmers Union’s annual meeting. With no general election on the immediate horizon, union president Peter Kendall in the hot seat for another year and a DEFRA team widely seen as sympathetic towards […]

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How the floods have hit farmers

I’ve had a go at describing what the floods are like over in Queensland, but this email I received today from past Nuffield scholar Ronald Thompson gives a better impression of what farmers are going through over in the worst-hit areas. Ronald farms near Chinchilla, about 300km north-west of Brisbane. Chinchilla was just getting back […]

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Green with Outback envy

Today I experienced a new emotion: magazine envy. It wasn’t a pretty sight either. Goodness only knows what Mark, the editor of Outback, thought  as I sat stupidly gaping as he brought out issue after issue of one of the nicest-looking publications I’ve ever seen. (I realise I’ve broken a load of copyright/reproduction laws here, […]

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Goin’ bananas

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt on my travels, it’s that farmers in the UK share pretty much the same problems as every other farmer in the world. Supply and demand, retailer power, pricing, red tape and high input costs are affecting producers in every country I’ve been to so far, and Australia is certainly […]

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Farming science, a flight and a freak-out

So had I a bit of a wobble yesterday. The stress of nearly being kidnapped, coupled with a hair-raising five-hour drive from Hisar back to Delhi so I could catch a flight to Mumbai (or Bombay, if you insist on being colonial) got to me. It’s a tad exhausting being on edge for hour after […]

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So who’d pay the ransom?

There were a good few minutes yesterday afternoon when I genuinely thought I was being kidnapped. It says a lot about me that during that time I a) updated my Facebook status with words to that effect and b) started thinking about whether I could surreptitiously hide my iPhone in my shoe without it being […]

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Reports of a tiff are greatly exaggerated

Mark Twain, in the title there. Not sure it worked, but it’s made me feel a bit cultured. Poor old Andrew George though, eh? And I’m not just pitying him for this terrible photo we keep wheeling out on FWi: Having spent years helping the NFU thrash out arguments advocating a supermarket ombudsman to protect […]

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Meat, milk and beer – the perfect way to spend a day

Having seen some great farms together in the United States, the UK Nuffield 2010 Crew decided to keep things a bit closer to home yesterday with a trip to Staffordshire. While a few of us were missing (bad luck to Princess and Peckie for the annoyingly-timed dry spell), we met at fellow scholar George Finch’s […]

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