NFU in the media: BBC Focus on Farming week

World Milk Day 2016_34814

The BBC's Focus on Farming week, beginning Monday 19 August, has seen a series of farming-related reports covering a broad range of topics affecting the industry. Climate change, Brexit, nature, wildlife, welfare, diversity and the future of farming all took a turn under the spotlight.

The NFU has raised a number of concerns to the BBC about its coverage of farming and rural affairs and has met with them to discuss this.

The BBC's decision to run a week-long focus on farming, has seen reports exploring comprehensive issues in greater detail. The NFU has been engaging with BBC News teams to provide briefings and interviews.

Click on the links below to see the topics explored during the week and where NFU spokespeople and farmer members have been featured.


Monday 19 August - Climate Change

NFU Deputy President Guy Smith was on NFU member Joe Stanley’s farm in Leicestershire talking to BBC Breakfast and the BBC News Channel about climate change and the impact extreme weather has had on crops. Catch up below.

NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts was interviewed by the BBC's environment correspondent about the importance of investing in our flood and coastal defences, and this was broadcast on the BBC lunchtime news. 

NFU sugar board chairman Michael Sly pre-recorded an interview from his farm in Cambridgeshire with BBC News at Six and Ten that looked at the Fens as a highly productive area of food production that is also hugely vulnerable to flooding and climate change.

Michael Sly on BBC News_68024


Tuesday 20 August - Brexit

For a piece on Brexit aired on BBC bulletins across the day, the NFU’s director of EU exit and international trade, Nick von Westenholz, briefed the BBC with farming’s views on Brexit. The four UK farming unions also provided a statement. Catch up below.

Nick was also interviewed on BBC 5 Live Wake Up To Money at 5.30am to discuss Brexit, farmers' concerns and the opportunities that lie ahead. The programme also pre-recorded interviews with NFU horticulture board chairman Ali Capper, NFU crops board chairman Thomas Bradshaw, NFU uplands forum chairman Thomas Binns and NFU next generation forum chairman Simon Gadd.

NFU Deputy President Guy Smith spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live about the impact the recent wet weather has had on this year’s wheat harvest. Catch up from from 51 mins here.


Wednesday 21 August - Nature

BBC Breakfast was again broadcasting from NFU member Joe Stanley’s farm to talk about emerging technologies in farming, how they could be used going forward and the impact of the recent wet weather on this year's wheat harvest.

NFU environment forum chairman Phil Jarvis recorded an interview with the BBC highlighting the positives that farmers contribute to the UK environment, all while producing high quality food. He highlights some of the challenges that farmers face, including the weather. This features on the main news bulletins on Wednesday.

NFU President Minette Batters was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme,  giving the NFU’s perspective on a potential UK-US trade deal, following a BBC interview last week with the head of the American Farm Bureau Zippy Duvall who said the UK must accept US food standards.

NFU horticulture and potatoes board chair Ali Capper was interviewed on BBC Farming Today (listen from 9 mins)  covering the NFU's concerns that a that the end of freedom of movement in a no-deal Brexit would mean a critical supply of people for British food and farming will be cut off overnight.


Thursday 22 August - Welfare and Diversity

BBC Breakfast was on Joe Stanley’s farm for the final time where they will be talking about rural crime and the wide-ranging impacts this can have on farmers.

NFU chief land management adviser Sam Durham was interviewed live on BBC Breakfast to highlight the issues of rural crime and react to the recent spate of sheep butchering across the Midlands. The programme also featured a farmer who had recently suffered an incident on their farm. 

NFU horticulture and potatoes board member Tim Papworth talked to BBC News about how a farm accident changed his life. Watch the interview below.


Friday 23 August - Next Generation

The final themes explored are technology and farming’s next generation. BBC Breakfast visited NFU member Growing Underground, a vertical farm located at a disused air raid shelter in Clapham. 

BBC London looked at the challenges facing farmers as the country prepares the leave the EU. NFU Deputy President Guy Smith was interviewed in advance.

An online piece looks at young female first generation farmers and their experiences in the industry. The BBC interviewed Hannah Jackson (the Red Shepherdess on Twitter).

A second article examines the debate over climate change and the role of livestock production, emphasising the role UK grasslands play in locking in carbon. 

Follow NFUtweets on Twitter for more information and media coverage during the week

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Last edited on: 23:08:2019

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