What changes are happening in the agricultural sector?
Matthew Valentine gives an overview of the changes that are happening in the agricultural sector.
Rate of fatalities highest in agricultural sector
In a study conducted by the Health and Safety Executive, the fatal accident rate across all British industries was found to be highest in agriculture. Of the 137 workers killed at work in 2016/2017, 27 died whilst working in the agricultural sector. Whilst the number of fatalities is actually higher in the construction industry (30), the smaller number of workers in agriculture means that the fatal accident rate in agriculture is actually higher.
Farmers at risk of cyber attacks
An insurance broking expert has highlighted the risk of cybercrime that farmers are exposed to and has stressed the need for adequate insurance cover. Recent attacks on the NHS and Members of Parliament has brought the issue of cybercrime to the foreground, but smaller firms such as farmers are equally at risk. Stephen Ward, associate sales director at H&H Insurance Brokers, warns that farmers should consider whether they need a basic cyber cover policy or if their current policy covers cybercrime. Farmers may also need insurance to cover their cyber liability in the event that they transmit a damaging virus by accident.
NFU call for agricultural 'solutions' in Immigration Bill
A report published by the National Farmers Union ("NFU") on the issue of access to migrant labour in agriculture has called for the proposed Immigration Bill to offer British Farms flexible solutions for recruiting both seasonal and permanent overseas workers, with a focus on a competent and reliable workforce. NFU President Meurig Raymond said "The forthcoming Immigration Bill must recognise the importance of migration for certain sectors and Government must recognise the strategic importance of the UK farming industry as the bedrock of the UK's food and drink industry, worth "£109 billion to the economy".
EU and Brazil joint proposal on farming subsidies to World Trade Organisation ("WTO")
The EU and Brazil – two of the world's biggest producers of agricultural products – today submitted to the WTO a joint proposal on support for agricultural production and food security measures. The proposal suggests to level the playing field between WTO members by limiting trade-distorting farm subsidies in proportion to the size of each country's agricultural sector. The initiative takes into account the specific needs of developing countries: the least developed countries would be exempted from any subsidy limits, in order to allow for development of their farming sector.
Chlorinated chicken a potential stumbling block for potential UK/US trade deal
Despite US President Donald Trump's keenness to initiate trade deal talks between the UK and US, it appears that the complexity of a proposed deal will make negotiations a protracted process. The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has publicly declared that the UK should not accept chlorinated chicken from the US as part of a deal between the two nations. Washing chicken carcasses in chlorinated water, which producers argue stops the spread of microbial contamination from the animal's digestive track to the meat, is a practice that is banned by the EU. Both backbench and cabinet MPs have voiced opinions on the issue of food trade, with Michael Gove maintaining generally that the UK would not compromise on or dilute its animal welfare standards in the interest of trade, while Jacob Rees-Mogg (MP for North East Somerset) has said British people should be given the option to choose their food.
The new electronic communications code moves one step further to implementation
The enactment of the Digital Economy Act 2017 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2017 has brought into force certain provisions of the Digital Economy Act 2017. In particular, sections 5 and 6 will give the Secretary of State the power to make transitional and consequential provisions in connection with the new Electronic Communications Code (please refer to our article on how the new Electronic Communications Code will affect landowners here).