Small farms, Bayer-Monsanto deal, Post-Brexit trade
An alliance of farming and environmental groups is calling for the government to give special protection to small and medium sized farms in its new Agriculture Bill.
The coalition of groups which includes the Tenant Farmers' Association and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) say the number of farms with fewer than 50 hectares of land fell by almost a third between 2005 and 2015. They argue that having a range of farm sizes and types is vital for a resilient and dynamic farming industry, as well as rural communities and the environment.
Beatrice Fenton gets a flavour of life on a small farm at Steepholding - a nine acre site of very mixed land on the Somerset and Devon border, managed by Ruth O'Brien and her partner Alex Wilson, who lease the land from the Ecological Land Cooperative: a social enterprise set up to address the lack of affordable sites for land-based livelihoods in England and Wales. Meanwhile Caz Graham chats to the CPRE's Graeme Willis about the campaign to ensure small and medium-sized farms are recognised by the government...
The European Union has conditionally approved German pharmaceutical firm Bayer's plans to buy the US agro-chemical company Monsanto.
The US $66 billion bid was originally put forward in September 2016, but promptly became the subject of an investigation by the European Competition Commissioner - who was checking whether the move might reduce competition in key products for farmers. Under the conditions of the deal, Bayer will have to sell off some of its herbicide and seeds businesses to a rival European company, BASF.
There's a year to go until Brexit, and all week we've been focusing on key areas of change in food and farming. One of the most hotly debated topics is trade: and as the rest of Europe is our closest and in many cases most significant trade partner, there's been much discussion over what sort of deal the government will negotiate with the EU.
We've heard talk of various different scenarios - staying in the single market, developing a whole new trade deal or even leaving without one and reverting to World Trade Organisation tariffs. So, how will whatever we end up with affect farmers and food producers?
Lucy Taylor has been to the Merthyr region of Wales, to find out more about a sector that has traditionally relied heavily on EU custom.
Presented by Caz Graham; produced by Lucy Taylor.