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Northern Ireland considering culling badgers
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£4 million research programme to be commissioned

Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill has responded to recent criticism from the Ulster Farmer's Union (UFU) of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (DARD) policy on badger culling as a means of countering the spread of bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) by confirming that controlling the disease is a 'key priority'.

Ms O'Neill stated that “We are investing around £4million to commission a programme of TB and wildlife research and studies towards the ultimate aim of eradicating TB in cattle. We will use the evidence produced by this programme to inform a comprehensive approach that deals with all aspects of TB and will help to reduce the level of disease in cattle.”

“We already have a rigorous EU Commission approved eradication programme in place. We also need to build a sound evidence base to underpin further interventions in cattle and/or wildlife that could help to reduce TB as part of our eradication programme.” the Minister added.

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News Shorts
Prince of Wales visits innovative research project

As part of his annual Food and Farming Summer School, HRH The Prince of Wales met with students and farmers at Eastbrook Farm in Wiltshire.

The Prince took a tour of Eastbrook Farm as well as meeting with the students taking part in the Summer School. He was able to hear about the results of the 'field-lab' research which has been taking place at Eastbrook Farm, as part of the Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme funded by the Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation, led by the Soil Association.

The Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme's field-labs bring farmers together to research and tackle a practical challenge. As part of his tour, the Prince was also able to hear about two field-labs: one on new approaches being trialled by farmers to dramatically reduce antibiotic use in dairy herds while maintaining herd welfare, and another on weed control in cereal crops.