17th December 2021


Rural Rap

WEST KENT’S FARMING INCOME FELL BY MILLIONS OF POUNDS LAST YEAR, reports the Kent Messenger.  The NFU said that 2020 was a challenging year for the industry, with farms across England losing over £1bn in revenue.  The total income from farming in West Kent was estimated to be around £32.4m in 2020 – a real-terms fall of 10% from the year before.  In the South East and London, farming income fell 31%, making it the fifth-most affected of the seven English regions.  Across England, total agricultural income fell by £1.1bn to £2.6bn, showing the “significant disruption” caused by Covid-19, as farmers lost their entire market overnight, and many farm businesses suffered from the closure of their diversification enterprises.

PRODUCED IN KENT IS APPEALING FOR HELP TO FUND A PROJECT THAT IT BELIEVES WILL “REVOLUTIONISE” FOOD WASTE IN KENT, reports the Kent Messenger.  The money is needed to get a B2B app called FoodLoop up and running.  Endorsed by KCC, it would allow every food-related organisation in the county to share details of excess food so others can make good use of it.  It has already raised £27,000 of the £43,000 needed.

PLANS FOR A £30M WINERY HAVE BEEN DELAYED, according to Kent Online.  The proposal for a production facility including a café, visitor centre and car park is planned for the land off Upper Bush in Cuxton.  Councillors have asked for more time to get further information before making a decision on the plans.  The site is the single largest vineyard in the UK with some 700 acres already planted and another 200 planned for the next two to three years.  The developers want to invest £30m in the building itself, and another £60m across the wider estate.

TWO KENT FARMS HAVE HAD “WORLD-FIRST” STRAWBERRY SEASONS FREE OF POWDERY MILDEW SPRAYS, reports Farming UK.  An autonomous robot which reduces powdery mildew through light treatment achieved complete control of the pathogen during this growing season.  “Thorvald” delivered UV-C treatment to protect strawberry plants on over 10ha of land at Clock House Farm and Hugh Lowe Farm, both in Kent.  The robot performs light treatment to control mildew, drastically reducing the need for fungicide.  Consequently, the farms did not spray their crops with any powdery-mildew-targeting chemical control agent, in what has been dubbed a “world-first.”

THE KENT NATURE PARTNERSHIP IS SEEKING A LEADER AND CHAMPION FOR THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT.  The Partnership has, over the past 10 years, provided a platform for collaborative work to deliver the recovery of nature.  It aims to restore, maintain, and create habitats that are thriving with wildlife and plants and are supported by a coherent and resilient ecological network.  The Chair will play a central role in developing the Partnership’s strategic direction, and act as its champion.  The role is for three years and is paid an annual honorarium for time and expenses incurred.

Food Loop

…is seeking 50 businesses and organisations across Kent and Medway to become a FoodLoop Champion.

FoodLoop is a B2B app, connecting Kent food busineses that have surplus food – such as growers, secondary producers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and hospitality businesses – with Kent “takers” of surplus food – such as producers, food production companies, social supermarkets, gleanng groups, food banks and other community initiatives.  It aims to reduce food waste, put more surplus fresh food on the table, and help to build Kent’s community.

It is now looking for Food Loop Champions to donate £500 to the cause. 

In exchange, donors receive a Food Loop Champion logo to use on marketing materials, a mention on all FoodLoop promoitional materials, and a ticket to the inaugural dinner of Kent FoodLoop Champions.

To enable the development of the app and to run a 12 month project to build the community, the enterprise needs £43,000.  It has already raised £19,000 through various routes including crowdfunding.

For further information, contact: floortje.hoette@producedinkent.co.uk

AONB KENT DOWNS : Grants for farmers, land managers and landowners

Applications are now open for the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme (link)

The three year scheme aims to fund outcomes for People, Place, Climate and Nature in the Kent Downs.  It is possible to apply for more than one year.  Applications can range from £250k, to no miminum.  Funding can be up to 100%, but value for money is part of the assessment criteria.

Applicants will be supported to carry out projects that:

  • Provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and cultural heritage
  • Support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses
  • Mitigate the impacts of climate change
  • Support nature recovery


RABI, Addington Fund, FCN, Forage Aid and RSABI, supported by the Prince’s Countryside Fund, have launched the Farming Help initiative.  The initiative is also being launched with the NFYFC, the NFU and the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust. 
FARMING HELP recognises that this will be an anxious time for many farmers and farming families and periods of poor health or self-isolation may result in temporary practical difficulties on farm.  For help drafting a contingency plan, for practical local help with livestock, shopping etc, or to discuss your concerns and anxieties,

Contact 03000 111 999 or visit www.farminghelp.co.uk

To receive the Rural Rap direct to your inbox please contact info@ruralplc.com