Are you a sheep and/or cattle (dairy or beef) farmer in the north of England? The FIELD project is looking for farmers like you to take part in online focus groups! FIELD is a £1.5m Wellcome Trust-funded research project investigating the endemic health conditions Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) in cattle and lameness in sheep and cattle. We are considering their past, present and likely future impacts, asking whether they could be managed better, and if so, how?

As part of the project, we are bringing together small groups of farmers online, via Zoom, to discuss and reflect on the question “Why do lameness and BVD persist?” We will donate £15 to the Farming Community Network charity for each participant ( If you would like to take part email

For more information see below.

We invite you to participate in FIELD: a research project aiming to help tackle endemic diseases in the UK’s cattle and sheep population.

  • FIELD is funded by the Wellcome Trust and is run by a group of researchers from six UK universities, all interested in the challenges posed to livestock health, welfare and productivity by endemic diseases.
  • Endemic diseases are common but difficult to eradicate and they have an impact on animal health, welfare and productivity. FIELD focuses on Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) and lameness as two contrasting examples of these diseases.
  • The research involves:
    • Investigating the history of BVD and lameness to see what we can learn from the past
    • Working with present day farmers and vets to find out what problems these diseases cause on farms and how farmers and vets deal with these problems
    • Creating economic and epidemiological models which aim to identify how transmissible diseases like BVD move between animals and farms, helping us to identify areas of risk in farming systems

A crucial part of the research is talking to farmers about BVD and lameness on their farms, and this is where we need your help.

What will taking part involve?

  • We would like to carry out focus groups with farmers who keep dairy cattle, beef cattle, and/or sheep. The focus groups would be conducted over the phone or Zoom.
  • You will participate in two focus groups. We aim to hold the first meeting in July/August 2021 and the second meeting in August/September 2021.
  • The first meeting will focus on the past to the present. Using historical images and drawing on your own experiences and memories we will explore where we are currently with these two conditions and how we got here. The second meeting will look to the future, exploring how we might learn from the past and present to improve BVD and lameness management in the future.
  • Each focus group will last about 90 minutes and will be recorded.
  • Your participation will be in confidence: you and your farm would not be identifiable in any of the research outputs or communications.

What are the benefits of participating?

  • We will consider how responses to these diseases have changed over time, and what their impacts are for animals and farm businesses. We will ask if they can be better managed, and if so how. We want to identify ‘best bet’ interventions to help reduce the incidence of these diseases and their costs to UK farming.
  • Your involvement will mean you are contributing to efforts to reduce the incidence of endemic diseases such as BVD and lameness. These conditions may be costly and reduce animal welfare.
  • We will send you a copy of our findings as a policy and practice note and keep you informed of any additional dissemination and engagement activities resulting from the research
  • For each participant in each focus group, we will donate £15 to the Farming Community Network charity

If you are willing to take part ...

For more information, or if you are interested in taking part please email Beth Clark ( For more information on the FIELD project please explore the website.