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British Growers

Brassica & Leafy Salad Conference announcement – Postponement

By Industry News

In the light of the very high Covid infection rates which the country is currently experiencing, the Brassica & Leafy Salad Conference organising committee have met and agreed that the Brassica & Leafy Salad Conference be postponed until the autumn.

We have been monitoring announcements from the Government and developments across the UK in respect of pandemic and the Omicron variant.  Delegate and speaker safety is and always will be our primary concern.  Although the Government did not announce further restrictions yesterday, we are operating to the Government’s Plan B including the guidance of working from home and daily lateral flow tests for critical/essential workers including food processing concerns.  Covid figures are escalating, the NHS is working under critical incident measures, and mass absenteeism is being experienced by companies and services up and down the country.

With the mounting concern nationally and internationally, combined with the lack of clarity about the weeks ahead with medical experts reporting the next few weeks will be critical, made this decision inevitable.

Although postponing an event is never pleasant, we hope that as the country recovers from our battle with Covid we will be able to enjoy a superb conference in the autumn at the East of England Arena & Events Centre.

A huge thank you to all our speakers, sponsors, trade, and delegates that support the Brassica & Leafy Salad Conference, and a revised date will be issued shortly.

Brassica & Leafy Salad Conference Speaker Announcement – Press Release

By Industry News

The Brassica and Leafy Salad is less than 2 months away! After 3 years the event will return to Peterborough to represent two of the largest sectors of horticulture.

We are pleased to announce our headline speakers for the conference. All the way from Australia (with the help of the internet) Graeme Sait. Graeme is the co-founder of a Queensland Company, Nutri-Tech Solutions (NTS), a recognised world leader in sustainable agriculture/horticulture. He is currently working on two new books covering soil, plant, environmental and human health issues. His communication skills are most evident during his passionate, charismatic presentations which are often described as “life-changing” and “inspirational”.

Also confirmed to speak at the conference is Professor Simon Pearson, Director, Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology. Simon will be joining the conference line up to update the audience on the DEFRA automation review and the work that is underway at the University.

Ben Taylor, Regenerative Consultant, who may be better known as Regenben from his vast following on Twitter, will be speaking to the delegates on “The healthy food dichotomy.” Follow Ben now.

Dan Parker presented at the conference in 2019, launching the Veg Power campaign and the massive plans. He is returning to the 2022 conference to update the audience on the work done so far and the plans in the pipeline.

Further speakers will be announced soon. Follow us on twitter for the latest announcements @BLSAconference

The event will host a large exhibition area – exhibitors booked in already can be viewed on our website: Exhibition | Brassica and Leafy Salad Conference

To date we are pleased to confirm our Sponsors:

  • The Brassica Technical session is being kindly sponsored by Syngenta UK Ltd.
  • The Evening Dinner is being kindly sponsored by Sakata UK Ltd.
  • The Conference Programme is being kindly sponsored by Elsoms Seeds.
  • The Lunch is being kindly sponsored by Enza Zaden UK Ltd.
  • The Evening Drinks Reception is being kindly sponsored by Hazera Seeds UK Ltd.
  • The Evening Dinner Wine is being kindly sponsored by FMC.

We owe a massive thanks to the companies that support our event through sponsorship or by exhibiting. Without their generous contributions we would not be able to host our prestigious event.

Sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities for the industry-leading event are still available, please contact admin@britishgrowers.org for more information or visit our website www.brassicaandleafysaladconference.co.uk

On behalf of the organising committee, we look forward to welcoming you to the Brassica & Leafy Conference on Wednesday 19th January 2022.

 

 

 

 

 

BRITISH GROWERS NEWS UPDATE

By Company News, Industry News

25th November 2021

 

Defra consultation on the future of AHDB

Defra has issued a further consultation covering several important issues for the horticultural sector. It is critical Defra gets a complete industry picture, so the purpose of this note is to encourage you to complete the online survey. There are 13 questions to complete the section on horticulture and 9 of these are your ‘name and address’ type questions.

The consultation opened on 17th November and closes on 10th Jan 2022.

 

What are you being asked?

There are three areas of critical interest:

  1. Should the AHDB Order be amended to remove the statutory levy in the horticulture sector in Great Britain?

The results of the recent ballot of horticulture levy payers showed a significant majority are no longer satisfied that the AHDB’s services are providing value for money and have signalled overall they do not want the levy to continue. 61% of levy payers that voted in the horticulture sector ballot voted “no” to the continuation of the statutory levy in their respective sectors.

To respect the overall outcome of the recent ballots Defra is proposing to amend the AHDB Order to remove the duty on the AHDB to impose a statutory levy on the horticulture sector. This will end the statutory levies in their current form from the beginning of next financial year.

In the accompanying text Defra says…

It is open to exploring industry led proposals from any parts of the horticulture sector, or from any other agricultural industries, who may see value in working with the AHDB through a statutory levy mechanism in the future.

Furthermore, any group of growers can agree to pay a voluntary levy to fund research or other activities at any time. This could be done by the industry working with the AHDB or by working with other organisations or by establishing an alternative governance structure for organising, collecting, and delivering a voluntary levy programme.

No to public funding for R&D

Defra is making it clear that ….

Public sector funding will not pay for research or other actions that were, or could reasonably be expected to be, funded through levy investment.

And goes on to suggest ….

Growers may need to coalesce to provide leadership and formulate new industry led funding models that are better suited to their needs and will enable cross industry collaboration for the delivery of priority research, development, and other activities to support their businesses in future.

 

  1. Do you want the AHDB’s application service for emergency authorisations and extension of authorisation for minor use of pesticides for the horticulture sector in Great Britain to continue (EA/EAMU application service)?

About 70% of EAs and EAMUs are secured by the AHDB. Annually they submit between 80 and 100 applications to the HSE (CRD) for EAs and EAMUs and Defra expect this number to rise in the next few years, due to the decline in the availability of active substances.

In the short term during 2021/22 and 2022/23 some limited specific AHDB activities will continue in the horticulture on a transitional basis. AHDB will continue to deliver applications for Emergency Authorisations (EAs) and Extensions of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMUs) of pesticides in the horticulture sector in Great Britain (funded through reserves).

 

  1. If you want the AHDB’s application service for emergency authorisations and extension of authorisation for minor use of pesticides for the horticulture sector in Great Britain to continue do you have views and suggestions on how it should be funded?

Providing continuity for the AHDB’s EA/EAMU application service is for seen by many as very important to their business. So, Defra is exploring options for a longer-term funding solution for a continued AHDB EA/EAMU application service from 2023/24 and are interested in industry views on this point.

The remainder of the consultation

The remaining section of the consultation covers

  • A regular vote for levy payers
  • Extending the scope of the AHDB Order
  • Increasing the headroom for levy rates in the English sheep sector; and
  • Future reforms to the AHDB Order

 

Taking part in the consultation

Here is the link to the Defra consultation and the closing date is 10th January 2022.

 

Jack Ward

CEO, British Growers

November 2021.

AHDB sends grower levy payers final demand with £10.6m wind down costs identified

By Industry News

AHDB sends grower levy payers final demand with £10.6m wind down costs identified

9 November 2021, by Matthew Appleby

AHDB has written to levy payers, who voted to end paying the levy in February 2021 with a 2021 levy invoice/estimated invoice.

AHDB said: “We expect this to be the final year of the statutory AHDB horticulture levy, subject to a decision by ministers.  It has been calculated on a reduced levy rate of 0.27% on your adjusted sales figure (down from 0.45% last year).

“Following the ballot of horticulture levy payers earlier this year the AHDB Board has been in communication with government ministers and has taken the decision to completely wind-down our statutory levy-funded horticulture operations. We understand that government will launch an industry consultation later this year [mid-November] on proposed changes to the legislation that governs AHDB and on future options.

“The levy funds collected in this year, together with sector reserves, will be used to cover the costs of winding- down all levy-payer activity in the horticulture sector: to see out existing contractual liabilities including research programmes, so the value of levy already invested is not lost (£7.4 million) to cover the costs of lease commitments and staff redundancies (£1.4 million) at Defra’s request to fund a transitional EAMU/emergency authorisation service in 2022/23, so benefits are not lost for the industry and to enable time for the service to potentially be transferred to a third party (£1.8 million).

“For AHDB Horticulture it will cost in total around £10.6 million to meet all the liabilities through the planned transition of activities and the wind-down process. AHDB Horticulture reserves at 31 March 2021 were £6.05 million (subject to audit). The reduced 2021/22 levy rate is expected to raise £4.55 million.

“AHDB will remain legally required to pursue all overdue levy payments and any debtor that refuses to pay will be pursued through the legal process.   Any excess funds at the end of the wind-down process will be held for a period of up to 6-years to fund any residual horticulture liabilities which may arise. After this period the utilisation of any funds remaining would be discussed with the industry and government.”

AHDB Horticulture Board chair Hayley Campbel-Gibbons also wrote to growers to say: “My term on the board of AHDB, and role as chairwoman of the AHDB horticulture board ended on 31st October. Much has changed since I joined the organisation three year’s ago, not least the landmark vote to end the AHDB horticulture and potatoes levies.

“It has not been an easy task to wind-down our activities, in part because of the time it is taking Defra to issue the consultation on the future, but also because the process is involving making the vast majority of our valued team of people redundant. All of whom have shown true professionalism and resilience during a very difficult time.

“I respect the ballot outcome of course, and recognise the wind-down as a necessary course of action. At the same time, I wish those growers who do want to see continued investment in research in their sector the very best in their efforts to find a way forward on collaborative funding.”

She said the final bill to settle the balance on AHDB Horticulture’s accounts and activities includes continuing the EAMU programme for a further year (2022/23), at Defra’s request, and also ensures that any research work we had already started is completed. It also covers the cost of staff redundancies, and horticulture’s central cost contribution.

“On governance, the horticulture board has a newly revised and slimmed down terms of reference, which is to provide oversight of the wind-down process. All meetings will be held virtually, and the board will be chaired on an interim basis by Peter Judge, who sits on the board currently, and will attend the main AHDB board as an observer. This arrangement will be reviewed in March 2022, when the current levy period ends.

“Recognising the need to provide oversight of the remaining research projects (51 in total currently which will reduce to 28 running in 2022/23, 11 in 2023/24 and 3 in 2024/25), the most efficient way for us to achieve this will be agreed with the panels and sector board over the coming weeks.

“As part of the wind-down plan and budget, AHDB will be creating a legacy website to ensure that all of the past and future work funded by growers will be available to view online.

“All that remains for me to say is thank you to all of the growers and staff who have supported me in my role at AHDB; in particular, my fellow board members past and present, those growers who got involved in our efforts to reform the levy, the panel members who have given so much of their time and effort to our research, our strategic centres and those who have attended our many trials and events. A special thank you to the whole horticulture team at AHDB.”

LSA CT Fellowship Scheme 2022 deadline extension

By Company News, Industry News

The LSA Fellowship scheme has extended its application deadline to the 10th November 2021.

 

With the additional few days to apply we are running through the top reasons for you to apply:

  • 2-year Fellowship scheme
  • £3,000 bursary to cover your expenses
  • Increase your industry understanding: from Herbs to Hardy Nursery Stock production, R&D to marketing
  • Connect with key representatives and leaders from across the industry
  • Be part of a group of a small Fellowship group: developing a close network with your peers
  • Attend an oversees study tour

“The Fellowship provides an excellent opportunity for up-and-coming executives in the horticulture industry to widen their perspective, create a network and equip themselves for a future role in leadership of the industry. These are exciting and challenging times for horticulture, and the LSA Fellows will be vital in shaping our sector for the future.”  Commented Coral Clark Managing agent for the Scheme.

Lucille Gilpin, Horticultural Technologist at DAERA and started the scheme in 2019, she encourages others to apply for the scheme:

“Applying to the LSA Fellowship was a no-brainer – between invitations to high quality events and meeting likeminded horticulture young people, I am glad I did apply.

Even throughout COVID we have had a busy schedule, meeting and discussing with central industry people online. Pre-COVID, my favourite event was at SmartHort, I gained a lot of knowledge from this event to bring back to my workplace.

Since being on the scheme, I am a lot more confident to discuss industry issues in my workplace with also further confidence to talk to other growers about the latest technologies.

For new applicants, I would thoroughly advise to join our group, I have learnt a lot and will continue to do so along with the horticulture friends I have made.”

The Fellowship aims to develop the future leaders of the commercial horticulture industry and is being supported by the National Farmers Union, British Growers Association, The Horticultural Trades Association, the Chartered Institute of Horticulture and the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board.

To apply for the scheme please visit: www.lsactfellowship.org The deadline for applications is the 10th November 2021.

For more information on the scheme please visit the website www.lsactfellowship.org or contact Coral Clark at British Growers on  Coral.clark@britishgrowers.org , or call: 01507 602427.

By Company News

Following the success of the British Leafy Salads Demonstration Day on 16th September and the British Carrot Growers Demonstration Day on 7th October, the British Growers team are pleased to announce our further upcoming events:

19th January 2022

The long-awaited Brassica and Leafy Salad Conference is back. After a 3-year hiatus the event is back in a new venue, East of England Showground. There are still sponsorship and Exhibitor opportunities available, for more information please visit the website, Sponsors | Brassica and Leafy Salad Conference or Exhibition | Brassica and Leafy Salad Conference.

 

9th February 2022

The British Leeks Agronomy Day in partnership with NIAB is being held in Marston, Lincolnshire. Exhibition opportunities are available for the event, if you would like further information, please contact Pauline at Pauline.sutton@britishgrowers.org.

 

6th July 2022

The Asparagus Growers Association Biennial Conference, in Coningsby, Lincolnshire. Exhibition opportunities are available for the event, if you would like further information, please contact Pauline at Pauline.sutton@britishgrowers.org.

 

October 2022 (date tbc)

International Plant Propagators Society Annual Conference in Germany. Further information to be announced shortly.

 

November 2022 (date tbc)

Onion & Carrot Conference – The British Onions Producer Association and the British Carrot Growers Association will be joining forces once again to host the Onion & Carrot Conference.  Further information to be announced shortly.

 

2nd-5th October 2023

International Carrot and other Alpiaceae Symposium, in York. Further information to be announced shortly.

 

 

As always, we continue to offer advertising and editorial opportunities to the industry in our various Crop Association Newsletters. Please see the below for more information.

Prices

Deadlines

 

Have you applied for the LSA Fellowship Scheme?

By Company News, Industry News

The deadline is looming for the 2022 LSA Fellowship scheme. We are looking for the future leaders of the UK’s horticulture industry to take part in the Fellowship.

 

KEY FACTS

  • 2-year Fellowship scheme
  • Exposure to all elements of the UK’s horticultural industry. Herbs to Hardy Nursery Stock production. R&D to marketing
  • £3,000 bursary to cover your expenses during the Fellowship
  • Attend an oversees study tour
  • Be part of a group of 12 Fellows, developing a close network with your peers
  • Connect with key representatives from across the industry

The Fellowship aims to develop the future leaders of the commercial horticulture industry and is being supported by the National Farmers Union, British Growers Association, The Horticultural Trades Association, the Chartered Institute of Horticulture and the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board.

“The Fellowship provides an excellent opportunity for up-and-coming executives in the horticulture industry to widen their perspective, create a network and equip themselves for a future role in leadership of the industry. These are exciting and challenging times for horticulture, and the LSA Fellows will be vital in shaping our sector for the future.” The Managing agent for the Scheme, Coral Clark commented.

Lucille Gilpin, Horticultural Technologist at DAERA and started the scheme in 2019, she encourages others to apply for the scheme.

“Applying to the LSA Fellowship was a no-brainer – between invitations to high quality events and meeting likeminded horticulture young people, I am glad I did apply.

Even throughout covid we have had a busy schedule, meeting and discussing with central industry people online. Pre covid, my favourite event was at SmartHort, I gained a lot of knowledge from this event to bring back to my workplace.

Since being on the scheme, I am a lot more confident to discuss industry issues in my workplace with also further confidence to talk to other growers about the latest technologies.

For new applicants, I would thoroughly advise to join our group, I have learnt a lot and will continue to do so along with the horticulture friends I have made.”

 

To apply for the scheme please visit: www.lsactfellowship.org The deadline for applications is the 31st October 2021.

For more information on the scheme please visit the website www.lsactfellowship.org or contact Coral Clark at British Growers on  Coral.clark@britishgrowers.org , or call: 01507 602427.

 

UK Horticulture Trade Delegation to New Zealand Horticulture | March 2020

By Industry News

In early 2020 in the days before lockdown, I had the opportunity to look at the fresh produce industry in New Zealand and see what the UK might learn from them and the way they operate. I was accompanied on the trip by Ali Capper, Chair of the NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board, Chris Moncrief from the RHS, Ruth Ashfield from AHDB and Lucy Jackson from Defra.

 

The report explains were we went, who we spoke to, what we saw and more importantly our recommendations for the UK fresh produce industry.

 

View the report here

 

If anyone wants to discuss the report or the recommendations in more detail please feel free to get in touch

 

Jack Ward

CEO

British Growers Newsletter – 22.09.21

By Company News, Industry News

Foreword Jack Ward, CEO British Growers

We should be entering a golden era for our sector. Rising awareness of the importance of vegetable and fruit in the diet, increased consumption off the back of the pandemic, strong support for increasing the production of vegetables and fruit from the National Food Strategy and yet it feels nothing like a golden era – in fact the complete opposite.

This is undoubtedly the most difficult period for growers since I joined British Growers seven years ago. Labour availability, escalating costs, difficulties in getting hold of essential inputs, the list of problems seem to grow by the week and it’s not evident the Government has a plan to get us out of this situation.

Grower meeting and the future for Research and Development

Earlier this week we held a meeting for Crop Associations to discuss the future for R&D. Phil Pearson, Chair of the Grower Better Levy Group explained the Group’s thinking on possible options to ensure a pipeline of R&D in the future

A more detailed summary of their proposition can be found here.

Ian Smith who leads the AHDB team within Defra explained the current Defra thinking. Defra is planning a consultation starting in early October and running for 6 weeks. The main focus will be on changes to the statutory instrument to implement the outcome of the ballot – an end to a compulsory levy. The consultation is also likely to include something on how best to continue the work on EAMUs although we understand AHDB is in a position to continue the EAMU work until the end of 2022.

We will keep you posted with details of the consultation as soon as it is published.

National Food Strategy

Sometimes you need a bit of positive news. So, it was good to see the National Food Strategy pick up on several of the ideas sent to them by British Growers.

  • Fresh produce is the sector of primary food production where growth most squarely aligns with the national interest.
  • There are clear opportunities for UK growers to secure a greater share of the UK
  • Defra should adapt the best elements of the EU Fruit and Veg Scheme to create a package of investment that aligns more closely with Government, consumer and grower
  • Fruit and vegetable production should be supported by a wider programme of investment to boost horticultural productivity sustainably, creating a less bureaucratic, more inclusive and better funded successor to the previous EU Fruit and Vegetable Regime.

We have recently written to Defra Ministers asking for a meeting to explain our thinking about how Defra could use its new policy freedom to provide more encouragement and support for the sector.

Labour

The labour shortages have been well documented and widely reported. The issues experienced by growers this season have surpassed all others, poaching of staff including both permanent and seasonal; workers turned back at the Border because Border Forces staff don’t like their paperwork; difficulties getting the two new SWPs agencies up and running and delays in recruiting and issuing visas, Covid restrictions; increasing reluctance for EU workers to return to the UK even with settle status visas. The list goes on and on.

Earlier this month several industry organisations led by the NFU and Food and Drink Federation published a comprehensive report ‘Establishing the labour availability issues of the UK Food and Drink Sector’ which spells out very clearly the labour issues affecting all parts of the UK Food industry including the problems surrounding seasonal labour.

We have subsequently written to the Secretary of State for the Home Department in support of the report and in particular adding to the calls for

  • a commitment to a permanent seasonal worker scheme for UK horticulture,
  • the expansion of the scheme to include more visas and operators,
  • and for the scheme to be made available to the non-edible horticulture sector. A full copy of the report can be found here-

Sustainable Farming Incentive

Defra is consulting on a range of proposals for the arable sector under its Sustainable Farming Incentive Scheme.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme is the first of 3 schemes designed to encourage environmental land management. And will launch in 2022 for farmers in England who currently receive payments under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

Details of the consultation can be found here.

The closing date for responses has recently been extended to Friday 22nd October 2021.

We are in discussion with Defra about an SFI scheme which is better suited to the veg and fruit sectors and we understand there are plans to introduce a scheme tailored to the needs of the fresh produce sector.

Strategic Review of Abstraction Charges

At the end of August, the Environment Agency launched its consultation on a strategic review of abstraction charges. The consultation runs until the 10th November 2021. The NFU is encouraging all members who abstract water to respond to the consultation. It will be particularly important for farmers and growers to comment on any identified changes to charges and the impact of those costs on their businesses. The NFU consultation is being run by its team of Environment Advisers. Anyone wanting more details can contact their regional adviser. This link will take you to the appropriate regional office.

 

Redistribution of surplus production

British Growers has been in contact with various organisations with an interest in the redistribution of surplus production. One of these groups is the Felix Trust and they have developed an App to make the connection between growers and redistribution organisations as seamless as possible.

The App will allow growers to flag up any surplus production and connect with organisations that will collect and redistribute it.

The Felix Project is looking for growers based in the East & Southeast of England to take part in a short trial to find out if the app works for you. Any growers not wanting to take part in the trial or in another part of the country can also support the project by taking a short 5-minute survey.

Please contact Les Golden on les.golden@thefelixproject.org or call him on 07833 235147 to discuss further and/or take part. Or you can complete the survey here.

 

Wannabe Reality TV Celebs

Big Little Fish TV, the makers of the hit Discovery series ‘Born Mucky” are looking for family farms to feature in a variety of new programmes they are developing in the farming space. These programmes will be a celebration of British agriculture, and of the incredible families at the heart of it.

Big Little Fish TV are keen to hear from fruit and vegetables growers. If you are interested and want to find out more, please email at hello@biglittlefish.tv. And for more info about the makers visit their website.

FPC Future – 4th November 2021

FPC is collaborating with the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology to launch two new events for the fresh produce, flower and plant industry on 4th November 2021 at the Lincolnshire Showground.

FPC Future comprises an exhibition and eight conference sessions and is co-located with FPC Careers, a specialist careers fair the industry and related sectors which include foodservice, import, retail, logistics, distribution and wholesale.

The conference programme is extensive, with conference sessions covering pre and post farm robotics and automation, data-driven technologies, plastics and packaging, supply chain waste, carbon supply chains, vertical farming and sustainability.

For more information visit here.

British Carrot Growers Association Demonstration Day 2021

By Company News, Industry News

The British Carrot Growers Association Demonstration Day 2021.

The 2021 BCGA Demonstration Day is shaping up to make a big return for 2021. Returning as an in-person event, the 2021 event will be a great chance for the industry to have a long awaited “catch up”.

The Demo Day on the 7th October will be held near the village of West Knapton, Malton and is kindly being hosted by Hobson Farming and sponsored by AHDB.

The event will showcase existing and emerging carrot varieties from Seminis, BASF, Rijk Zwaan, Hazera, HM Clause, Elsoms/ Bejo and Agriseeds.

Martin Strickson from Elsoms commented: “Elsoms are delighted to demonstrate our extensive range of varieties bred by Bejo Zaden. Our market leading range include the most comprehensive, reliable, versatile and diverse carrot varieties available to producers in the UK.”

Not only will demonstrations of the latest varieties be available for the attendees to view, but the BCGA Volunteer Potato trials are being held at the site. Delegates can see the ongoing trials and quiz those who have been running the trials.

Several agronomy plots from Bayer and Microbial are also sited at the field and will be available for delegates to see.

The exhibition area attracts a great turnout from the supportive wider industry to provide a great interactive opportunity for those who attend.  Already registered to attend are: Bayer CropScience Ltd, Clause UK Ltd, Hazera Seeds UK Ltd, Elsoms Seeds, Grimme UK Ltd, OnePay, Yara UK Ltd, Edwards Farm Machinery, Tong Engineering Ltd, Tickhill Engineering Co Ltd t/a Haith and Pan Anglia.

Entry is free of charge for delegates, refreshments will be available throughout the day and you can claim both BASIS and NRoSO points.

Registration for the event for delegates and exhibitors can be found on our website- BCGA Demonstration Day | Great British Carrots

For more information, please contact admin@britishgrowers.org