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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

LSA 2022 Fellowships Application Window Opens Soon

By Company News, Industry News

The fourth intake for the Fellowship opens for applications on the 1st September 2021 to applicants who are developing their careers within Horticulture.

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.

 

TOP 5 REASONS FOR APPLYING:

  • Increase your understanding of the commercial horticulture industry and the role that trade bodies play in the development of industry strategies.
  • Our two-year scheme increases your knowledge of current research and wider industry issues.
  • Opportunity to attend meetings and study tours across the horticulture sector, covering technical, strategy and marketing.
  • Chance to experience the entire horticulture industry from Lettuce production to Hardy Shrub production.
  • You will be awarded a bursary of up to £3,000 which you can draw down on to cover your activities within 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.”

 

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 01507 602427.

British Protected Ornamentals Association joins British Growers Association

By Company News

British Growers is pleased to announce that British Protected Ornamentals Association (BPOA) has chosen British Growers to take over their administration and official office. They will be joining 13 other specialist crops associations which make up the British Growers membership.

 

The British Protected Ornamentals Association (BPOA) was founded in to promote the interests of the UK bedding plant industry.  It‘s membership is drawn from growers and the allied trade within this specialist and growing sector of horticulture.

Coral Clark, Crop Association Executive, commented ‘We are absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity to work with BPOA. The British Growers mission is to support growers, to do what they do best, by providing a shared administrative and accountancy provisions.  Our unique shared services model will allow BPOA to access the skills they need to function effectively, whilst they retain their own strong identity”.

The Association’s primary aim is to support the needs of growers particularly in R & D, marketing and wider sector representation. By helping the bedding plant and pot plant, cut flower and other ornamental plant growers to work together, the Association aims to achieve common goals enabling all growers to move forward in an ever-changing marketplace.

Please visit homegrownplants.org.uk to find out more about BPOA.

 

James Alcaraz, Chairman of the Association said ‘BPOA works to support growers through its technical committee activity, the promotion of ‘Home Grown’ and other marketing initiatives which support members’ plant sales and to give a voice to the membership on political issues

 

James went on to say that he is “delighted to be working with Coral and all the team at British Growers. Adding that the Association would like to take this opportunity to thank Simon Davenport for his long-standing service to the Association as the Executive Officer and the British protected ornamentals industry.

We might as well pack up and go home!

By Company News, Industry News

‘We might as well pack up and go home unless returns improve’ was the verdict at a recent meeting of Brassica Growers.

This season has seen shortages of workers, transport and packaging materials resulting in rapidly escalating costs for growers. But returns for fresh produce have remained static. ‘We thought last season was challenging with the Covid restrictions but 2021 has brought a whole new set of challenges’ reflected one grower.

New immigrations rules and quarantine regulations have affected the willingness of Settled and Pre settled status workers to return to the UK and increase the reliance on the new Seasonal Worker Permit scheme. Growers are experiencing intense competition for workers from higher margin industries who are tempting some staff away from the UK’s fresh produce sector.

The well documented shortage of haulage drivers has driven up haulage prices and led to a scarcity of drivers especially at weekends. Consumers expect to find shelves stocked with fresh produce 24/7 and this is getting increasingly more difficult due to current transport shortages.

Packaging is another commodity which seems to be in short supply resulting in higher and higher prices. Even the costs of fertiliser and basic machinery are outstripping the rate of inflation with prices up by as much as 40%.

Jack Ward CEO of British Growers said we are seeing similar comments across the fresh produce sector with other crops such as onions, carrots and leeks experiencing the same problems.  We’re reaching the time in the year where the sector is flat out and retailers depend on the UK’s growers for supplies of super fresh vegetables and fruit. We desperately need to see an improvement in returns to growers to cover these escalating input costs. Labour costs have risen by as much as 15% already as growers try to attract staff and compete with other industries. Haulage contracts are proving more difficult to arrange with prices up by 10% and the possibility of further rises as the season progresses.

Vegetables and fruit represent incredibly good value for money, but growers need to cover their costs and reinvest in their businesses. ‘We can’t operate in an environment where costs go up and up and product prices don’t – this is a road to ruin. Everyone is focused on improving efficiency and delivering more for less, but this can only go so far’ said one grower.

With the interest in healthy eating and the increased consumption of vegetables and fruit, we should be looking at an exciting new phase of fresh produce production here in the UK. But unless there is some acceptance that returns to growers must reflect increased input costs, the appetite to soldier on and reinvest for the future is being seriously eroded. Growers keep being asked to mitigate inflation, but they are already working on paper-thin margins and there is nothing left to be squeezed. Unless there is a serious shift in the valuation of food, we are at risk of crops being left in the ground and supermarket shelves left empty.

Contact

Jack Ward: postbox@britishgrowers.org

 

British Growers News Updates

By Company News

Veg Power Seasonal Vegetable Campaign

 Veg Power is planning a new seasonal veg campaign for 2021. In 2020, with a £20,000 grant from DEFRA, VegPpower launched a social media campaign to promote seasonal vegetables. The campaign was supported by 1,379 influencers including Jamie Oliver, Prue Leith, Ainsley Harriot, SORTED Food,

Change4Life and a legion of cooks, food writers, nutritionists and food lovers. Collectively the 2020 campaign reached 11.4 million people and a pre and post campaign survey carried out by You Gov showed a 2.2% increase in awareness of seasonality equating to 1.15m people.

The 2021 campaign, which launched in January, will continue the seasonal promotion with a 12-month programme of 38 featured veg weeks.

 

Eat Them to Defeat Them Campaign

 Through the Eat Them to Defeat Them campaign, Veg Power is trying to engineer a significant and lasting shift in consumer behaviour. The campaign is a 10-year mission. It will require a sustained, large scale, whole sector approach involving Growers and Crop Associations, retailers, schools, nutrition organisations and social media influencers, particularly chefs and food writers to deliver effectively on its intended outcome which is to transform the UK into a nation of veg lovers.

The campaign will combine three main elements.

  • Desire – making domestically produced in-season vegetables aspirational.
  • Education – increasing awareness of the benefits of seasonal veg.
  • Availability – increasing availability and promotion at point of retail purchase and food service consumption.

For more information contact: dan.parker@vegpower.org.uk

 

Seasonal Staff

 At the end of February, British Growers attended a meeting with Defra and other organisations for an update on the seasonal worker situation. For the 2021 season the number of permits has been increased from 10,000 to 30,000. In addition to Concordia and Pro-Force, two more agencies have been added to list of agencies managing the seasonal worker permits. We expect details of these new agencies to be announced shortly.

 

Settled and pre settled status

Across the UK, 4 million EU citizens have applied for pre-settled or settle status. This will enable them to continue to work in the UK. The opportunity to apply for settled and pre-settled status is still open and the final date for applications will be 30 June 2021.

 

Metalaxyl and Tefluthrin

 British Growers has written to Victoria Prentis, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Defra to draw her attention to the plans for the withdrawal of Metalaxyl and Tefluthrin and the impact the loss of these key crop protection products would have on the production of major field scale veg crops here in the UK.

 

Red Tractor Review and Vining Peas

 We have submitted a proposal to the review of the Red Tractor standards asking for consideration of an option to register vining pea as part of the combinable crop scheme for those growers required to meet the Red Tractor standards by their processor / customer and whose only crop requiring registration under the produce assurance scheme is vining peas. The justification for the request is that in many cases the activities (with the exception of harvest and haulage) are compatible with combinable crop production.

 

Update on the Defra Environmental Land Management Scheme

 With effect from 2021 money will be transferred from the current Basic Payment Scheme and transferred to the new Environmental Land Management Scheme ELMS (public money for public goods). By 2024 50% of the Basic Payment Scheme funding will be transferred to ELMS and a new productivity scheme.

Although horticulture is not a big beneficiary of the scheme, for growers who combine fresh produce with other arable or grassland operations, the impact will be significant. So, the launch of the initial stages of the new ELM Scheme including an invitation to take part in the first phase of the Sustainable Farming Incentive Scheme pilot may be of interest to growers looking to fund the delivery of public goods with public funding.

More details of the scheme can be found here.

AHDB Ballot Confirmed on Statutory Levy for Horticulture – Update

By Company News

This is the latest announcement from AHDB detailing its plans for a ballot of AHDB Horticulture levy payers:

 AHDB has formally announced there will be a ballot on the continuation of a statutory levy in horticulture. It will be a yes or no vote on the future existence of AHDB Horticulture and the work it delivers on behalf of growers.

The announcement follows confirmation that AHDB had received valid requests for a ballot from more than five per cent of horticulture levy payers.

AHDB will now procure the service of an independent company to administer the vote process. This will take a number of weeks and AHDB envisages that voting process will commence in January. Every levy payer will be invited and encouraged to vote in the ballot.

Once the ballot has concluded, AHDB will publish the results on its website and inform Ministers. Ministers will then make a decision on the future of the levy, taking into account various factors, such as voter turnout. Ministers are not bound by the result of the ballot.

Nicholas Saphir, AHDB Chair, said. “We welcome the opportunity for an open debate on the important role of AHDB and how it is the funding backbone of horticultural applied research and development to address crop protection, labour, resource use, and technical innovation.”

Supporting Veg Power

 The Veg Power team recently issued a prospectus to support its fund-raising activities to continue the Veg Power campaign. The following text is taken from the introduction to the prospectus.

 “So far, the campaign has raised £1.7m in cash funding for our campaigns and secured over £10m of donated media space, goods and services, led by our foremost partner ITV. Our Eat Them to Defeat Them TV campaign has reached over 46 million people; our schools’ programme is in 1,500 primaries and our social media campaign to champion seasonal vegetables has reached 11 million people. More kids are seeing vegetables as fun, and children, their parents, schools, and retailers are all reporting a direct increase in sales and consumption.

 The sheer scale and high quality of this work is a testament to the immense support for our mission and the dedication and skill of our team. Now that team needs your support. For this to continue, as it must if we are to secure lasting change, then we need reliable core funding to support our work. We know that money is tight in the horticulture sector, so we are asking all the larger companies from growers to retailers and the companies who supply them to subscribe to Veg Power at a cost of £12,000 per year. We are going to ensure that your support will be rewarded.

Support from the whole supply chain will ensure increased sales for the entire vegetable category. Our Chief Executive, Dan Parker, has set out our vision for Veg Power, our work to date, and how we will continue and increase our impact. In consultation with industry partners we have created a series of direct business benefits available only to our supporters which will give you an edge as the market grows.

 Three great challenges of our time, climate change, Brexit and the clear link between dietary health and Covid-19 share the simple vegetable as part of their solution. We have an outstanding team, an influential board and a huge network of supporters who stand ready to capitalise on

these trends. I urge you not to miss this opportunity.

Baroness Rosie Boycott

Chair Veg Power campaign

 The Veg Power team has mailed the prospectus to around 400 businesses across the fresh produce industry. The mix of businesses includes growers, retailers, suppliers, processors, in short anybody with a connection to the fresh produce industry and with an interest in promoting the consumption of vegetables.

We know the number of people involved in the industry is much greater than 400; so if you weren’t on the Veg Power mailing list but would like a copy of the prospectus or want to know more about the campaign, please get in touch with Dan Parker, CEO of the Veg Power campaign. His email is dan.parker@vegpower.org.uk

The UK to host III International Symposium on Carrot and other Apiaceae

By Company News

The UK has successfully won the bid to host the ISHS International Symposium on Carrot and other Apiaceae in 2021.

The third event of its kind will take place in the historic city of York, close to one of the main carrot growing areas, and will attract delegates from across the globe. British Growers Association tendered to host the Symposium on behalf of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), with support from Warwick University and Elsoms.

“We are very pleased that the UK has been given the opportunity to host this prestigious event, the event will be one not to be missed. We will have the platform to showcase the fantastic research that our Universities, Research Organisations and growers are involved in”

Jack Ward, CEO British Growers Association

The event will be held over 4 days, starting on Monday 4th October and finishing on Thursday 7th October 2021. The Symposium will involve a series of symposium sessions and seminars held at the York Racecourse, a Gala dinner held in the historic York Railway Museum and the opportunity to visit the British Carrot Growers Association and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Demonstration Day.

The 2021 Symposium will bring together the most recent scientific findings and technical advances to the Carrot and Apiaceae community. The Scientific Committee, led by Rosemary Collier of Warwick University, will shape the programme of events for the 2 days of seminars.

“Our UK Symposium will build on the excellent precedents set by the two very successful previous Symposia in Poland and France.  It’s an exciting opportunity to focus on a family of crops that have a key role in international diets and cuisine and to interact with experts on technical and scientific issues.  The historical city of York has many attractions for visitors and is a great venue for the Symposium.”

Professor Rosemary Collier, Warwick University

British Growers are pleased to announce that the platinum symposium sponsors of the 2021 Symposium will be Elsoms and Bejo.

“Elsoms and Bejo are delighted to be the lead sponsors of the 3rd International Apiaceae (carrot) symposium and we are thrilled that it is being held in the UK. This event is a great opportunity for all those involved in these crops to meet up, network and hear about activities, both practical, near market, and, more strategic and far reaching, from around the world.

The UK is a fantastic place to hold this event. High product specifications and the year-round supply demands from the market place ensure that crop quality is key with production being driven by technology in the field and packhouse: UK producers are amongst the leaders in the world. The UK also has a strong voice in horticulture science and technology, with internationally recognised research institutes such as Warwick University, the internationally renowned Wellesbourne genetics resources and the plethora of outstanding UK research establishments, all of whom contribute to adoption of sciences into the industry for its continued success”

Robin Wood, Deputy Chairman, Elsoms

The Symposium visitors will have the opportunity to visit the British Carrot Growers Association and AHDB Demonstration Day. A long running successful event that showcases the best in new varieties from the UK and across the world.

Despite the current restrictions in the UK surround covid-19, the 2021 symposium at this stage is still going ahead. Sponsorship and Exhibition opportunities are available on the website or by emailing Info@carrotsymposium.com. Ticket sales will be available from the website www.carrotsymposium.com. To find out more, please contact the British Growers office on 01507 602427 or Info@carrotsymposium.com

 

       

British Growers News Update: COVID Winter Guidance

By Company News

COVID Winter Response Guidance for Food, Horticulture and Agriculture

 

Information on the next phase of the COVID 19 pandemic is starting to emerge and there is every indication that the autumn and winter could be as challenging as the last 6 months.

 

British Growers has agreed to join a collaboration of retailers, suppliers and industry experts to work with government and public health officials to provide information and guidance for growers about managing the COVID 19 pandemic through the autumn and winter. The project will deliver free access to pragmatic guidance, tools, webinars and regular updates through the winter period.

 

This initiative is designed to complement the latest government information by providing practical step by step information on how businesses can manage different situations by sharing real life experiences, policies and procedures and by signposting to relevant information and guidance.

 

The guidance will take businesses through the practical steps needed to comply with the government and public health guidance and to manage:

 

  • COVID on a day to day basis at the site level
  • Virus outbreaks
  • Track & Trace (as per devolved governments)
  • Serious illness and death of workers from COVID on site
  • Managing Return to Work
  • All regulatory bodies relevant – HSE, PHE, PHW, PHS, PHNI, Directors of Public Health, Local Council Teams in Public Health, Track and Trace (as per devolved governments)
  • Engagement with customers
  • Direct feedback from workers on their perspective on the COVID crisis and working through the crisis

 

 

There will be a special COVID 19 Winter Response event for growers, farmers and packhouses on 16th September 2020 – 11am – 1pm. To participate in the event please follow this link.

New Client at British Growers

By Company News

We are extremely proud to announce that International Plant Propagators Society (Europe) has chosen to join British Growers for the provision of their business services.

Starting in North America in the 1950s, IPPS has had a regional branch in Europe since 1968 when the Great Britain and Ireland Region began. A Scandinavian Region followed in 1992. The two later merged and became IPPS European Region in 2014 and have members now in most European countries.

IPPS is now a global network of plant production professionals, with over 1600 members and in all sectors of plant production, from primary producers to research professionals. Their motto is to “seek and share” information with likeminded professionals and aims to improve the knowledge, skills and professionalism of its members. The network puts members in touch with people working in plant production, research, botanic gardens and education in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Southern Africa and North America; and their unique archive of technical presentations at conferences in all their regional branches, going back more than 50 years, is available to all members.

Please click the link to discover more about IPPS.

Tim Lawrance-Owen from IPPS Europe and an IPPS International Board Director commented on joining British Growers:

“The European Region of the IPPS (International Plant Propagators’ Society) who join to seek and share plant production knowledge worldwide, was seeking to appoint a new Secretary to administer their affairs. Historically one person has undertaken this, with Board members giving their time to help. British Growers Association was recommended to us as having all the facilities required led by a team of experts in administration, finance and communication. The transition to British Growers has been a pleasure facilitated by the team allocated to us. The contact has been very friendly, helpful and understanding, all done under ‘lockdown’. We are relieved to know that the British Growers has the capacity to help us for many years, giving much needed continuity! “

And at British Growers Pauline Sutton, Crop Association Executive, remarked:
“I am absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity to work with IPPS as their Client Manager. It has been a pleasure engaging with Tim and his colleagues during the transition and look forward to a prosperous relationship.”

British Growers News Update: National Food Strategy

By Company News

The National Food Strategy

In October 2019 British Growers submitted evidence to the National Food Strategy. Part One of the strategy was published at the end of July and the following is a very brief summary of the key points.

The actual report extends to 86 pages and can be accessed through this link

The National Food Strategy – Part One

Our food system has just endured its biggest stress test since the Second World War. As COVID-19 swept through the UK, the entire machinery of supply and distribution had to be recalibrated, fast. The fact that, after a wobbly start, there were no serious food shortages is a testament to the flexibility and entrepreneurialism of so many food businesses, and the resilience of the food system.

The report’s recommendations cover 2 main themes:

1 Making sure a generation of our most disadvantaged children do not get left behind.

The key recommendation here is an expansion of the eligibility for the Free School Meal scheme to include every child (up to the age of 16) from a household where the parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit (or equivalent benefits).

There is an interesting potential spin off for the fresh produce sector here. At the end of July, the CEOs of the Co-op and Waitrose agreed, in principle, to supplement the Healthy Start voucher scheme with additional free fruit and vegetables. Most of the other major supermarkets and convenience stores are keen to follow suit.

2 Determining our future trading relationships and grasping the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to decide what kind of trading nation we want to be.

The report recognises that UK farmers and food producers have some of the highest environmental and animal welfare standards in the world. And accepts the justifiable concern about opening up UK markets to cheaper, low-standard imports which would undercut UK producers and make a nonsense of our progressive farming policies.

The introduction of a new and enlightened agricultural system here in the UK will only work if future trading arrangements reflect the same values. Otherwise, businesses and consumers may simply replace food produced in this country to high ethical standards with cheaper imported food produced at lower standards. This would make the whole future farming programme a charade.

The report recommends that the Government should only agree to cut tariffs in new trade deals on products which meet our core standards.

The Government should establish verification programmes – along the lines of those currently operated by the US Department of Agriculture to enable American farmers to sell non-hormone-treated beef to the EU – so that producers wishing to sell into the UK market can, and must, prove they meet these minimum standards.

These certification schemes should not only cover animal welfare but also environmental and climate protections where the impact of a particular product is severe.

Using similar mechanisms to the US, it would be possible, wherever the two sets of standards diverge significantly, to create tailored certification systems to ensure that food imports into this country meet the same standards we set for the UK’s domestic products.

What is still to come?

“The way we produce our food is the mother of all sustainability issues”.

Part Two of this report will cover the history and effects of the ‘Green Revolution’ which heralded the dawn of modern intensive farming and using selectively bred crops alongside fertilisers, pesticides and advanced farm machinery to massively increase the amount of food that could be produced from the land.

What began as a response to the threat of starvation is now considered disastrous for the environment. The global food system is responsible for an estimated 20-30% of total greenhouse gas emissions. It occupies half the world’s habitable land, uses 70% of the freshwater we consume, causes three quarters of all water pollution, and is the single biggest contributor to biodiversity loss.

Th second part of the strategy will also look at the issue of self-sufficiency and ask if there an optimal percentage number that we should be targeting, whether in aggregate or varying across the seasons and for different foodstuffs?

The basic premise is that things should be produced where they cost the least. But we need to understand these costs not just in terms of pounds, euros or dollars, but in terms of carbon emissions, biodiversity losses or the exhaustion of scarce water resources.

Part 2 of the strategy will be published in 2021.

 

British Growers

British Growers Association is a grower owned, grower led, not for profit umbrella group comprising a range of organisations operating in the UK horticulture industry and fresh produce sector. The membership includes Crop Associations, Producer Organisations, marketing groups and professional membership groups.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this newsletter or would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

Jack Ward                         Chief Executive                                07799 75778

Lisa Eagles                        Operations Director                        07909 331907

Coral Russell                     Crop Association Executive             07881 295616

Pauline Sutton                  Crop Association Executive             07990 010437