Farm Ireland

Friday 15 December 2017

Cambridge gets royal student as William learns ropes for Duchy role

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

As Teagasc prepares for a flood of applications for its agricultural courses in 2014, one British University is also preparing to welcome a famous pupil into its agricultural programme.

Prince William is to embark on a 10-week agriculture course at Cambridge University to learn the ropes before he takes over the 132,000ac Duchy of Cornwall estate from his father.

William will take over the reins on one of the biggest estates in Britain when his father succeeds to the throne.

The estate, which includes 131,974ac of land in 23 counties, is estimated to be worth £730m (€878m) and recorded a profit of £19m (almost €23m) last year.

It is made up of around 3,500 farms and properties that are rented out to generate income for Prince Charles and his family. The estate, located mostly in the southwest of England, comprises arable and livestock farms, residential and commercial properties, as well as forests, rivers, quarries, and coastline.

Nearly half of the holdings are in Devon, with other large farms in Cornwall, Herefordshire, Somerset and Wales.

In 1913, the legal opinion was that the Duke of Cornwall was not liable to pay tax on income from the Duchy but since 1993 Prince Charles has voluntarily paid income tax at the normal rates on the estate's revenue.


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The Department of Agriculture in the United States (USDA) is to deploy shooters on night-time hunts to cull deer in a park at the centre of the US capital of Washington.

Rock Creek Park is home to a white-tailed deer population that has grown excessively over the past 20 years and now threatens the forest in the park. The US National Park Service said deer numbers had grown so large they were eating nearly all the tree seedlings and preventing the park's forest from growing.

In rural areas where the white deer population is large, farmers suffer economic losses when the deer graze on crops like corn and in large-scale orchards.

The Department of Agriculture shooters will hunt at night when the 19km-wide park is closed to the public and roads through the park will be closed to prevent members of the public being injured.

The aim is reduce the deer population from 31 per square kilometre to 15-20 per square kilometre over three years. The deer meat from the cull will be donated to food banks and organisations for the homeless.

The number of white-tailed deer in the United States exploded from a few hundred thousand in the 1930s to an estimated 30 million today. The population growth has been blamed on a lack of predators and expanding deer-friendly residential areas.


Fresh beef from certain states in Brazil could be imported into the United States again if new regulations announced last month are approved.

The US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing to amend its regulations to allow, under certain conditions, the importation of fresh beef from specific Brazilian states. The states involved are Bahia, Distrito Federal, Espirito Santo, Goias, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Parana, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Rondonia, Sao Paulo, Sergipe, and Tocantis.

The proposed regulation changes would allow the importation of chilled or frozen beef while continuing to protect the United States from an introduction of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

Following a risk assessment and a series of site visits, APHIS concluded that Brazil had the veterinary infrastructure in place to detect and effectively eradicate an FMD outbreak if necessary. Imported beef would be subject to regulations that would reduce the risk of FMD introduction, including movement restrictions, inspections, removal of potentially affected parts and a maturation process.

But before the importation of beef from these Brazilian states can commence, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service must designate Brazil as being eligible to export fresh/frozen beef products.

Irish Independent