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Chris Hill

Under-pressure farmers face a “perfect storm” of challenges from Brexit, climate change and coronavirus – so they urgently need clarity on government policy and the confidence to invest in their future.

Poultry farmers and backyard hen-keepers have been warned that bird flu could return to East Anglia this winter – carried by wild birds migrating from outbreak hotspots in Russia and Kazakhstan.

The “extensive role” of farmers in maintaining and improving treasured landscapes has been outlined in an industry report – which also calls for “fair reward” from the government.

Farming leaders in East Anglia have criticised a “disappointing decision” by MPs who voted against new legal safeguards aimed at protecting food growers from “a flood of cheap imports”.

Farming and countryside groups have joined forces to produce a detailed “roadmap” for future environmental payments – in the hope it can fill the gaps in the government’s post-Brexit policy plans.

Farming leaders in East Anglia have welcomed a vote by the House of Lords aiming to increase parliamentary scrutiny of how post-Brexit trade deals will affect UK food producers.

Conservationists and farmers in East Anglia fear possible “downgrades” to the government’s flagship environmental payments scheme could be “catastrophic for nature”.

East Anglia’s sugar beet growers have been urged to respond to a government consultation on import tariffs and email their MP to “safeguard the homegrown sugar industry” from foreign competition.

British Sugar is predicting a 15pc drop in sugar beet yields for the forthcoming harvest after extreme weather and diseases put a dent in a decade of crop improvements.

A dairy farmer who feared he would need to throw away cheese worth £50,000 as demand crashed during lockdown has seen a spectacular resurgence in sales – with the help of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

“Ground-breaking” contract changes have given East Anglia’s sugar beet growers a new insurance against crop disease risks – while also opening up the potential for higher returns by playing global markets.

An ambitious conservation movement aiming to turn East Anglia into one of the world’s greatest nature reserves is set for prime-time exposure on the BBC’s Countryfile programme this weekend.

In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, there has never been a more important time to put homegrown food at the top of the political agenda says GARY FORD, East Anglia regional director for the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

The government has been urged to help East Anglian farmers to bolster the nation’s food security and self-sufficiency – on the day it is estimated the UK’s larders would run bare without imports.

A Fenland farmer’s efforts to keep carbon stored within his fields have been highlighted in a national publication showing how agriculture can achieve its “net zero” emissions target by 2040.

East Anglia’s sugar beet farmers fear an “unjustified and unnecessary” new zero-tariff quota on imported cane sugar could expose them to unfair competition from less-regulated overseas growers.

Fruit and vegetable growers across East Anglia are feeling the heat during a sweltering August which has left soils parched and river flows dropping.

Should long-lost native predators like the lynx be reintroduced to the East Anglian countryside? New nature movement WildEast hopes to reignite the debate about these controversial creatures.

Deaths from farming accidents have fallen to a five-year low, according to new figures – but safety campaigners warned there is still a long way to go to improve the industry’s woeful record.

Nature lovers across East Anglia have been urged to share the “unknown, unsung and unfunded” wildlife projects in their gardens, communities and landscapes to give social media momentum to a new conservation movement.

An East Anglian dairy farmer has cut his electricity bills by £2,000 a year – by harnessing the power of his cows’ manure to heat water supplies.

The new regional representative for East Anglia’s farmers says the need for a strong agricultural voice has never been greater as the industry faces an unprecedented series of challenges.

A lull in the property market during the coronavirus pandemic has created pent-up demand for farmland – with the lockdown prompting some potential buyers to “pursue a change in lifestyle and escape to the countryside”.

East Anglia’s farming leaders have welcomed a government pledge to create a trade and agriculture commission as a “major step forward” in the campaign to protect the industry from cheap, low-quality food imports.

Farmers and landowners shouldn’t wait for the government to fund all their nature conservation ambitions – and consumers must also be prepared to change in order to help them reverse East Anglia’s wildlife “crisis”.

More than a million people have signed a petition urging the government not to undermine British farming standards by allowing cheap, low-quality foods like chlorinated chicken to be imported under new trade deals.

The UK has officially been declared “disease free” for bird flu after an isolated outbreak was contained at an East Anglian poultry farm in December.

A wildly ambitious 50-year project has been launched to make East Anglia “one of the world’s great nature reserves” – by inspiring every section of our society to pledge 20pc of their landscape to wildlife.

Urgent action is needed to galvanise community, industry and government efforts to break the stigma around mental health and end the “silent suffering” on East Anglia’s farms.

An enormous tomato greenhouse is beginning to take shape in fields outside Bury St Edmunds – part of a £120m project to establish East Anglia as a trailblazer for low carbon farming.

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