|Genre||Farming and rural affairs news|
|Running time||13 mins (5.45) weekdays,
27 mins (6.30) Saturdays
|Home station||BBC Radio 4|
|Host(s)||Charlotte Smith, Anna Hill|
|Producer(s)||Emma Campbell, Sally Challoner, Beatrice Fenton, Mark Smalley|
|Recording studio||BBC Bristol|
|Air dates||since September 1960|
Farming Today is a radio programme about food, farming, and the countryside broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in the United Kingdom.
It is broadcast each weekday morning (having been recorded the day before) from 5.45 to 5.58, and a longer version of the programme (Farming Today This Week) is broadcast on Saturdays between 6.30 and 6.57. Around one million people listen to the programme.
Farming Today began life on 20 September 1960 as a weekly 15-minute programme subtitled A review of current affairs in agriculture at home and abroad and broadcast at 19.15 on Tuesdays as part of the BBC's Third Network's sequence of educational broadcasting known as Network Three. From 3 October 1961 the programme's start time was moved to 19.00, and from 7 January 1964 it changed again, to 19.45.
The run of weekly programmes on Network Three came to an end on 25 August 1964 and from 31 August Farming Today (now subtitled News, market trends, and current topics) moved to a 6.35–6.50 slot on Monday to Saturday mornings on the BBC Home Service (later to become BBC Radio Four), where it replaced the 10-minute Farm Bulletin which had been broadcast on that network at 6.40 on six mornings a week since 10 July 1962.
Between 1964 and today, with the lengthening of the Home Service / Radio Four broadcast day, the start time of the weekday programme (which has varied between 13 and 20 minutes in length) has gradually shifted earlier, and now stands at 5.45.
The programme explores matters of current concern to farmers, fishermen, and others with an interest in countryside issues. While it covers many topics having to do with the relationship between ecology (sustainable production methods or organic farming) and farmers, it always focuses in particular upon how these matters are seen from a farmer's point of view.
Range of topics
Recent topics have included
- Badger culling
- Bluetongue disease
- The EU Common Agricultural Policy
- The EU Common Fisheries Policy
- Foot-and-mouth disease
- GM food and crops (biotechnology)
- Pesticides and organic farming
- Robin Hicks - from 1968 to 1977, when the programme was live and transmitted from London. Later the programme team moved to Birmingham and produced a recorded edition with presenters Miriam O'Reilly and Mark Holdstock.