18th February 2022


Rural Rap

WHY IS IT GOOD TO HARNESS THE NATURAL POWER OF WIND AND SUN, BUT FROWNED UPON TO HARVEST THE NATURAL FRUITS OF OUR COUNTRY? Asks Charles Moore in the Telegraph.  He writes following a meeting with James Dyson who has, so far, bought 36,000 English acres at a total cost of £400m, with a further £120m so far on improvements.  Dyson believes that protecting English farmland is compatible with make a profit.  He wants to make farming less dependent on the middleman, less vulnerable to supermarket power, and readier to develop its own brands and sell them direct.  Moore argues that if “land is well suited to food production, it is moral to employ it for that purpose.  It might even, in some circumstances, be immoral not to do so.”  He claims that, just as Clarkson has done farmers a favour by showing the public the problems they face, so Dyson is giving them hope, by showing that the production of British food can have a bright technological future.
It is folly to think Britain can turn away from producing its own food (telegraph.co.uk)

FARMERS ARE URGED TO TAKE EXTREME CARE AS STORM EUNICE HITS THE COUNTRYSIDE WITH HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS, reports Farming UK.  High speed winds are expected to bring down power lines, cause significant damage to buildings, rip trees from the ground and cause coastal flooding.  NFU Mutual is encouraging farmers to plan evacuation routes for staff and livestock, and identify safer ground to which livestock can be moved in the event of flooding or snow.  Farmers are also urged to prepare for power cuts, plan water and feed in advance, have emergency numbers to hand, download What3Words, keep all building doors and windows closed, tell people where you are going, avoid the sheltered side of walls and trees, drive slowly and carefully, and wait until after the storm before undertaking emergency repairs.

UK INFLATION ROSE TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL FOR THREE DECADES IN JANUARY, reports Farming UK.  The price of everyday food continues to increase.  The CPI reached 5.5% in January, the highest since March 1992 when CPI stood at 7.1%.  All food and drink categories are more expensive than a year ago: prices of oils and fats are 15.9% higher, fruit 6.9%, coffee, tea and cocoa are up 4.9%.  The rises are attributed to rising energy, ingredient and logistics costs, which show no signs of abating any time soon, alongside acute labour shortages.

EX-FORCES ARE BEING TARGETED IN A BOLD NEW PROGRAMME TO SKILL UP THE FRESH PRODUCE SECTOR, reports Farming UK.  £450k of government funding will help provide ex-military personnel a chance to secure a job within the food supply chain.  The UK’s food supply chain continues to see an industry-wide worker shortage due to numerous factors, with the most prominent being the pandemic’s impact and Brexit.  The government grant will create a food sector training programme for non-graduates.  Fresh food and food supply businesses are being urged to look at the opportunity in their own businesses to bring new talent in.  The scheme is looking to nearly treble the number of training placements, from 78 to 220, available in food businesses.

The Big Farming Quiz - Friday 4th March 2022

Weald Kent Young Farmers Club

Friday 4th March
7.30pm for 8pm start

Benenden Village Hall, TN17 4DE

Teams of 6-8, £8/person, raffle
Bring your own food and drink

To enter a team, email wealdofkentyfc@gmail.com

RABI RACEDAY & LUNCH - Monday 28th February 2022

RABI request the pleasure of your company at the race day and lunch, kindly sponsored by Betty Chantler. 

Gates open at 11.20am, with lunch served at 12.15pm in the track side marquee. 

Tickets £70 each (tables of 8, 10 or 12) to include entrance, welcome glass of English sparkling wine, lunch, afternoon tea, car parking and race card

NB This year’s bookings are being taken directly by the racecourse.  To book, visit plumptonracecourse.co.uk and select “Buy Tickets.”  From the fistures section, select Monday 28 February – RABI Raceday.  Scroll down to the “Add a Voucher Code” and enter RABI2022.  This will bring up the option to purchase tickets for £70.  Any questions should be directed to Molly Taylor or Rebecca Warnett at Plumpton on 01273 890 383 or at racing@plumptonracecourse.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

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