The future of UK agriculture hears from expert on hot topic facing industry

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Students at Hartpury today had the opportunity to hear from an expert at the forefront of research into measures that can help prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis.

Dr Johanna Judge, a researcher for the Animal and Plant Health Agency, sits on the DEFRA Bio Security Implementation Group alongside Hartpury’s Head of Agriculture, Janatha Stout.

The group, which brings together experts from all over the country, looks at what practical steps can be taken to minimise contact between badgers and cattle and reduce the potential for the spread of disease.

Dr Judge, for example, was one of a team of researchers that investigated the effectiveness of simple exclusion measures to prevent badgers from visiting farm buildings, including sheet metal gates and fencing, feed storage and electric fencing.

Dr Judge delivered a presentation to students on Hartpury’s Agriculture degree programmes and first year students on the BTEC Extended Diploma Agriculture.

Janatha said: “Jo is one of the foremost authorities on tuberculosis research in this country and I’m delighted she agreed to come and talk to both our college and university level students to talk about the work she has already done, what she has found out and what the next steps are in trying to eradicate the disease.

“There’s no doubt that further research is needed to try and control this serious and economically important disease. It would be fantastic if some of the Hartpury degree students are inspired after this talk to undertake some applied research on tuberculosis bio-security measures for their dissertations.”

Dr Judge added: “It’s great to have the opportunity to speak to young people who are just starting out on their farming careers and raise their awareness of some of the challenges facing the industry, especially as I’m sure that some of them will be at the forefront of research and innovation to tackle these issues in the future.”

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