Livestock and dairy farmers have been awarded grants totaling more than 1.6 million pounds by Defra to prevent cattle diseases and improve cattle health on-farm.

Under the government's Farm Health Planning Cattle Initiative, 27 projects were approved for funding from 60 submitted proposals. The projects were analysed by Defra officials and industry organisations including the NFU. The funding will go towards initiatives from farmer and veterinary training to advice workshops featuring expert speakers. A network of farm health planning 'champions' will also be established so farmers can share information amongst each other on how to reduce diseases.

NFU animal health and welfare adviser Catherine McLaughlin said: "It has taken a long time to finalise but we are pleased to have helped bring about a good distribution of funds across the country. "The farm health planning projects will enable farmers to take a more proactive approach by testing, keeping records and sharing knowledge. It is well known that farmers learn best from farmers."

The £1.6 million is part of a £6 million pool Defra has secured to reduce the prevalence of animal diseases under the Great Britain Animal Health and Welfare Strategy 2004.

1. A map showing the geographic distribution of approved bids along with a brief summary of each bid can be found on the Defra Farm Health Planning Cattle Initiative website www.defra/fhp/species/cattle/cattle-initiative.htm


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