Tough times for farmers this year

The harvest has come late for farmers in Yorkshire this year due to the wet weather.
The harvest has come late for farmers in Yorkshire this year due to the wet weather.
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As we enter autumn, we seem to be in for a particularly busy time.

On November 15, 2012 elections will take place across the country to elect Police and Crime Commissioners. The introduction of this role means that for the first time, the public can directly vote for an individual to represent their community’s policing needs.

This new position plays a crucial part in the Government’s programme of decentralisation, where power is returned to communities.

An individual Commissioner will have responsibility for appointing the Chief Constable, have budgets to prevent crime and bring local authorities and communities closer together, through projects such as Community Safety Partnerships.

This individual will be accountable to the electorate in a way in which the police authorities are not. Police and Crime Commissioners will be more visible in the community and better placed to advocate the public voice.

The main difference is that instead of electing county councillors, one of whom is nominated to serve as chairman of the Police Authority, there will be a Police Commissioner directly elected by the people of North Yorkshire to be accountable for the scrutiny and monitoring of the Police Force. A key factor is that operational control remains with the Chief Constable of the North Yorkshire Police but that he will account for his actions to the newly elected police commissioner

The recent wet weather has caused many problems for farmers. The harvest has come late and the high costs of feed put ever increasing stress on farm resources. The damage from the recent floods is yet to be fully assessed but it seems unlikely that the planted seeds will have escaped unscathed.

Some small measure of good news comes from Defra, allowing slurry spreading outside of the normal closed period in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones.

This is a welcome but delayed announcement given that the NFU first raised concerns with Defra and the Environment Agency in mid-July.

It is also important to note that any such spreading will need to adhere strictly to the Environment Agency’s guidelines to avoid a breach of cross compliance rules.