The National Trust’s Ram-Cam Set To Become Ewe-Tube Sensation

A unique 90 second video from the National Trust showing a ram’s eye view as he ‘meets’ his new flock of ewes is set to become a ‘ewe-tube’ hit, say online farmers.

The ram, named Peacland Paolo, is the latest arrival at the National Trust’s My Farmexperiment * at Wimpole Home Farm in Cambridgeshire which is aiming to reconnect people with where their food comes from.

Paolo, a Portland ram **, was fitted with a camera measuring 60mm by 42mm, weighing just 167 grams last week.

The film shows him exploring his new home, giving MyFarm farmers an exclusive ram’s eye view of tupping (mating).

He is expected to tup around 30 ewes over the next 4-6 weeks. The ewes will give birth to their lambs next spring ***.

Wimpole Farm Manager Richard Morris said: “It will be fascinating to see just what a day in the life of a ram is like.

“Although we have a good idea that most of his time will be spent grazing, sleeping and mating, it will be interesting to see it all from his point of view.

“We kept Paolo in a pen when he first arrived at the farm as part of his quarantine and so that he could adjust to his new home. But, we’ve now introduced him to the ewes and he’s outside enjoying the grass.

“It may seem a bit strange that we want to follow and even film Paolo as he goes about his business, but farming is all about breeding, growing and harvest – so it’s only right that we should come up with ram-cam. This is nature as it happens and we hope it will be seen as something that reminds people what it takes to get food on their plate. The pressure is now on Paolo to perform!”

Paolo is 18 months old and this is his first season of tupping. He is expected to mate with 2-3 ewes a day with this figure increasing to 6-8 ewes a day when he’s older.

The Wimpole farm team is keeping a close eye on Paolo to make sure the camera in no way hinders his daily life, or becomes stressful for him in any way.

If at any time the camera is suspected of bothering him, the ram will be caught and the camera removed.

There are nine other rams at Wimpole who have between them 260 ewes to mate with over the next two months.

Subscribers to MyFarm will be able to watch the results of Paolo’s efforts next spring in Wimpole’s very own ‘lambing live’ when 260-300 lambs are expected to be born.

For more information and to sign-up to join the MyFarm experiment, visit www.my-farm.org.uk.

Via EPR Network
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The Co-operative Moves On Palm Oil

The Co-operative Group has become the largest UK supermarket to certify all of its palm oil use as sustainable.

The move by the consumer-owned retailer will help to protect endangered species, such as the orang-utan and the Sumatran tiger, as well as safeguard the future of smallholder farmers.

The retailer is purchasing accredited GreenPalm certificates from a co-operative of smallholders who are producing sustainable palm oil, accredited by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

The premium the smallholders receive helps them to build capacity for further production of sustainable palm oil.

Palm oil, which is used in modern food products, such as biscuits, pies and ready meals is one of the largest drivers of global deforestation, with Malaysia and Indonesia, which have some of the richest rainforests on the planet, accounting for 90% of production worldwide. These rainforests provide refuge for endangered species such as the orang-utan, the Sumatran tiger, elephants and rhinos. Further deforestation on Indonesian and Malaysian islands (Borneo, Sarawak and Sumatra) will push these species closer to extinction.

As part of its groundbreaking Ethical Plan launched earlier this year, The Co-operative committed to be a leading UK retailer on forest protection, and to move its palm oil sourcing to a sustainable footing by the end of 2011.

The retailer has achieved its target ahead of schedule, meaning that 4,729 tonnes of palm oil used annually will be certified as sustainable via one of the four certification systems agreed by the RSPO.

The Co-operative has also been working to increase the number of its own-brand products that contain fully traceable, certified sustainable palm oil, aiming to ensure all palm oil used as an ingredient in The Co-operative brand products come from this system by 2015. This move will further help customers of The Co-operative Food stores to make ethical and sustainable choices in store. It currently has 81 own-brand products that contain fully traceable, sustainable palm oil.

Sean Toal, Acting Chief Executive, The Co-operative Food, said: “Deforestation and the loss of natural habitat for the orang-utan and other endangered species are major issues, but, as a consumer-owned retailer, we are determined to play our part in supporting sustainable solutions.”

Via EPR Network
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The National Trust Begins Search For The Nation’s Favourite Walk

The National Trust has launched its search for the nation’s favourite National Trust walk, backed by a line-up of celebrities, including the comedian Omid Djalili, the best selling crime-writer Val McDermid and Time Team’s archaeologist Francis Pryor.

 

 

As part of the National Trust’s nationwide Festival of Walking*, which is sponsored by PruHealth, eight celebrity supporters have nominated their favourite routes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Hoping to inspire everyone whatever their age or ability to get out and explore the amazing outdoor places cared for by the National Trust, the celebrities’ walks cover more than 30 miles and range from Adam Hart-Davis’ invigorating walk along the Devonshire coastline, Paul Rose’s route through the spectacular scenery of the Lake District to some lesser known walks in the gardens and parks cared for by the National Trust.

Avid explorer and presenter, Paul Rose said: “Walking is just so amazingly simple. You need no special equipment, no special training, no special clothes; you just close your front door and go for a walk. It’s very easy, just go out and explore.

“Windermere is so accessible, you can just walk a few minutes out of town and yet it has a great sense of true wilderness. It’s a beautiful working environment. This is my local connection to nature right here.”

In contrast to the dramatic hills and lakes of Windermere, the actress and singer Toyah Willcox chose Capability Brown’s sweeping parkland, Croome Park in Worcestershire.

Toyah said: “Croome Park is just absolutely stunning. Worcestershire has beautiful rambling landscapes, gentle rolling hills, it’s agricultural land so it’s ever-changing and it has a very natural old-world feel about it. Croome is really cleverly designed. You look out across these rolling gentle hills and you see wonderful monuments, follies and statues and the lake in particular is really lovely. You truly feel you own the whole park while you walk around it.”

As well as videos of the stars lobbying for their chosen walk the National Trust are encouraging people to submit their own favourites. From October 20th, the public can join the debate online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk./walkingfestival. Everyone who nominates their own favourite will be entered into a prize draw to win National Trust walking boots.

 

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First Rate Farm Producers Win Coveted National Trust Awards

Twenty-two food and drink producers from across England and Wales are celebrating after winning a prestigious Fine Farm Produce Award from the National Trust.

The awards, now in their sixth year, celebrate the breadth and quality of produce grown, reared or made on land owned or managed by the National Trust, including tenant farms, orchards and gardens.

A total of 33 products from 22 producers – including dressed brown crab, red Devon beef, stoneground flour and light golden ale – have received Fine Farm Produce Awards. They will now be able to use the coveted Fine Farm Produce Award marque on their products. This year’s winning products were chosen from a very high standard of 47 separate entries.

Five new producers won an award this year and a total of 18 new products received the coveted stamp of approval for the first time, including the Red Devon beef from Big Red Cow in Somerset and Parke Farm apple juice.

The beef was extremely popular with all the judges who thought it was “full of flavour with a great texture”, whereas judges considered the juice to be “characterful”, with a “nice sharpness and distinctive taste.”

This year’s overall winner was hand-picked dressed brown crab, fished from the seas surrounding the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales.

Steve Harrison, who runs Aberdaron Seafood with his wife Natalie and business partner Idwal Moore, said: “This has been our busiest year ever and we’re very happy to have been chosen as overall winner this year. Winning in 2008 and 2009 really made a huge difference to our business. We supply a lot of businesses locally, but we even have a restaurant in London using our crab now.

“The award really is important to us. It’s good to have the recognition from the judges and it also really helps raise our profile.”

Rob Macklin, national agriculture and food adviser at the National Trust, said: “To even qualify for judging, all products meet strict criteria of provenance and environmental and animal welfare standards, and all primary ingredients must meet high production assurance.

“Products that successfully pass this check are subjected to a vigorous blind taste test by a panel of judges. The appearance, preparation, colour, aroma, texture and taste all have to be at least as good as a high quality, commercially available alternative, to win an award. Judging is therefore harsh but fair.”

The National Trust cares for half a million acres of farmland across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It works closely with its properties and tenants to help them develop high quality products.

Rob continued: “Since 2006, over 150 products have received a Fine Farm Produce Award and this year’s winners will join a group of some of the very best producers that the country has to offer.”

This year’s judging panel included Henrietta Green, food writer, broadcaster and founder of FoodLoversBritain.com; Karen Barnes, editor of delicious. magazine and Richard McGeown, chef patron at Couch’s Great House Restaurant in Cornwall.

Via EPR Network
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