Twelve months ago, whoever thought that we would be starting 2017 with the inauguration of Trump, Andy Murray ranked number 1 in the world, and of course the triggering of Article 50? The world is a very different place top what it was in January 2016. What can we expect for the year ahead for British farming?
The oversupply of manure is a huge problem for the Dutch livestock sector. The Dutch farming industry is currently fighting to save its nitrate derogation after it exceeded the set phosphate threshold in 2015, so what are they planning on doing about ?
Dutch farmers are at the top of their game when it comes to making their mark on the world stage. Spending 10 days in The Netherlands meeting with farmers and other professionals, I found out why The Netherlands is considered the place to be when it comes to agriculture and the food industry.
Incredible people are what really turn the wheels of global agriculture and this is what makes our industry so fascinating to be involved within. During 2016 I have had the privilege of meeting some great people from the farming industry operating across the globe and I want to thank them for making my last 12 month’s Nuffield experience so brilliant. 2016 will certainly be a year to remember, so lets see what 2017 will bring……
Nuffield is not just about farming. Earlier this year, I along with fellow Australian, Canadian and New Zealand Scholars spend 3 days visiting the First World War battlefields. As we take time to remember those who have gave their lives for us, we should never forget the ultimate sacrifice that so many people, both from Great Britain as well as other countries have given, so that we can all can enjoy the freedom, the livelihood and society that we all have today.
Many vegetables, particular tomatoes, lettuce and cabbage are grown on vast scales within the Central Valley of California. Rather than being sown, they are transplanted after starting life in a controlled environment, or greenhouse. Our Nuffield group spent the morning with Westside Transplants at their Firebaugh depot near Fresno to find out more.
A shortage of labour and an increasing minimum wage is arguable the biggest challenge facing Californian farmers and as a result, they are looking for technologies to address this issue. Visiting an asparagus farm in the Central Valley of California, our Nuffield group got to grips with the labour challenges that are facing the Californian agri-sector.
How many of us were sent off to school with a small box of Sun Maid Raisins with our packed lunch? Visiting the Sun Maid’s headquarters in Kingsburg, Fresno in California certainly brought back memories for me. Our Nuffield group spent a couple of hours learning about the raisin market and how raisins are produced.
Hosted by Superior Farms, our Nuffield Group had private tour around their huge meat processing facility near Dixon in California that sees lambs in the last stages of life through slaughter to packaging of the final individual meat cuts.
Visiting a mandarin packing plant the size of 11 football pitches – the largest in the world, our Nuffield Group learned that California is definitely forging ahead in dominating the US market share in supplying mandarins the consumer.
Visiting one of the largest feedlot operations on the western coast of the US, I learned about beef production on an unimaginable scale when our Nuffield Group were lucky enough to be hosted by the Harris Feedlot Company. Covering nearly 800 acres, the Harris Feedlot is located within California’s San Joaquin Valley, and has a capacity to produce 250,000 head of fed cattle per year.
Increasing the awareness of agriculture through education in the classroom is vitally important, if we as an industry are to bridge the knowledge gap between the consumer and producer. In California, through a non-profit charitable organisation, they have implemented a novel approach in the classroom which is having a huge success, particularly in urban areas, such as LA and San Francisco. Our Nuffield Group found out more through our visit to the Farm Bureau Federation in Sacremento.