Salary: £27,410 - £33,806The NFU, supported by all farming and related industry organisations, has recently secured funding through the Rural Development Programme England for a four year farm advisory programmes to provide cattle farmers with bespoke Bovine Tuberculosis advice and training in the South West Region.
Job Type: Contract - 4 years
Source: The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development Europe investing in rural areas. South West bTB Farm Advisory Service (based from the NFU Regional headquarters, Exeter)
Being delivered for the industry, by the industry, this initiative will provide practical and technical support, advice and training for trade, supply chain and animal health solutions to all cattle farmers across the South West region affected directly or indirectly by bovine TB. If you want to really help cattle farmers in a 'hands on' and practical way this could be the job for you.Under the direction of the programme Manager, the service will be delivered by three Advisers who will have a good understanding of Agriculture, Animal Health and the Rural Environment, and be able to "demonstrate an understanding of bTB".
Yup. We understand only too well. Cattle are tested and culled if they react to exposure of m.bovis. Tabular valuation is rubbish if you have spent a lifetime breeding high quality genetics, or if you've purchased expensive bloodlines and they are condemned. There is no appeal. You can't trade, except to approved finishing units, will probably have to shoot calves which you can't sell, and any movements at all have to be licensed by your local AHO - who may, or may not agree to them. Direct slaughter is your only outlet. Your bank may, or may not be sympathetic.
Up to 90 percent of TB breakdowns, both new and ongoing in the SW are down to badgers say AHO risk assessments, but the only 'advice' which can be given to affected farms is 'touch them not'. And possibly a reminder that hidden in the folds of the new Animal Health Bill, are penalties for not keeping 'bio-secure' - whatever that might mean in this context. Hermetically sealed boxes for cows? Shrink wrapped grass?
Update: We understand that key people in various farming organisations have pushed for this initiative, as their telephone lines are busy with farmers asking the same questions. But we are also mindful that our current Minister for (some) Animal's Health, is hell bent on saving cash. Our cash. Compensation cash, (the figure for which in Defra's convoluted accounting system, includes haulage, abattoir costs, valuers and incineration of reactors, but is net of carcase salvage). So while we welcome any support for farmers under herd restrictions, we are very much aware that what may be possible and planned for today, could be completely different tomorrow. And that someones idea of 'bio-security' may have a profound effect on any compensation monies due, however unproven, ineffective, impractical or costly such measures may be. We are also reminded of the words spoken at least twice in our hearing, by the former chief at Woodchester Park's Badger Heaven, Dr. Chris Cheeseman. When asked how to keep badgers and cattle apart, his reply was an unequivocal "You can't. You get rid of your cattle".
We understand that positions will be available in the Midlands and the North as well.
The closing date for the Exeter applications is Monday 15th February 2010 at 4pm, should you feel you have the right skills.