Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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£1.6 million for farm health planning announced

£1.6 million for farm health planning announced

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (152/07) issued by The Government News Network on 30 May 2007

Funding of over £1.6 million has been awarded by Defra to projects across the country to help farmers improve farm animal health and welfare.

Following an application process, twenty-seven different projects have received funding for a variety of farm health planning events and initiatives including farmer training, advice workshops and the development of farm health planning 'champions'.

Farm health planning means undertaking a range of measures to proactively manage disease risk on-farm. This involves good disease record keeping; identifying existing health problems on-farm and prioritising control measures for these; developing action plans for specific problems; and assessing whether measures have been effective and reviewing health plans where necessary.

Minister for Animal Health and Welfare, Ben Bradshaw, welcomed the initiative:

"Proactive farm health planning has real benefits for farmers, both in terms of the health of their herds and the profitability and sustainability of their farms. Disease is not inevitable and we hope to see real improvements across the industry as a result of this joint initiative between Government and industry. I look forward to seeing these exciting projects get up and running over the coming months."

Tony O'Loughlin from the St David's Farm Practice in Exmouth, Devon, said:

"My aim is to ensure that all our farms have a working Herd Health Plan in place within the next 12 months. The Cattle Initiative funding will enable us to complete this. We will be setting up farmer discussion groups to share information, with lectures at local Agriculture colleges to increase awareness among young farmers. We believe that this approach will help to make our farmers more aware of the cost effectiveness of good management and disease control."

For more information on Farm Health Planning and the cattle initiative, visit http://www.defra.gov.uk/fhp/index.htm

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