18th March 2022


Rural Rap

DOZENS OF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN MADE REDUNDANT AFTER A FAMILY-OWNED CHAIN OF 11 BUTCHERS’ SHOPS CLOSED, reports BBC News and the Kent Messenger.  The impact of the pandemic was blamed for the closure of JC Rook & Sons, which was established over 55 years ago.  The branches closed their doors on Monday, leaving the majority of its 155 staff out of work.  A production and distribution facility in Ramsgate and a food service facility in Shoreham also shut.  Industry sources say that the butchery industry faces a number of challenges, including a shift in shopping habits and a struggle to draw in younger generations.

44 PREGNANT EWES WERE STOLEN FROM A FIELD NEAR CANTERBURY ON SUNDAY NIGHT, reports the BBCPolice have called for anyone who saw anything suspicious between 6pm on Sunday and 6am on Monday to contact them.  It is believed that the sheep, from land in Chapel Lane in Blean, were loaded onto a truck and driven away.

TASTE OF KENT AWARDS HAVE REVEALED THE FINALISTS FOR THE 2022 AWARDS, reports Produced in Kent.  Over 30,000 votes were cast in the various categories, with voting in the hospitality categories up by 11%.  There were also strong applications from Farmer of the Year, New Food and Drink Product and Food and Drink Start-Up of the Year.  The three finalists in each category will now be scrutinised by a carefully selected group of judges.  The winners will be announced on 12th May at an awards dinner at the Kent Events Centre.

THE AUTUMN BAN ON MUCK-SPREADING IS UNDER REVIEW AMID FERTILISER SHORTAGES, reports the Telegraph.  Farmers have called on the government to change the rules over fears that soaring gas prices could lead to some food shortages and hit their profits.  The current ban is designed to prevent water pollution from agriculture, but farmers claim that autumn muck-spreading would help them to build healthier soils.  Fertiliser costs are up dramatically this year, with an increased cost of around £200 per hectare, meaning farmers are looking to reduce the amount applied.  This will reduce yields.  But organic alternatives, such as livestock manure, would “certainly have some influence” in winter.
Autumn ban on muck-spreading under review amid fertiliser shortage (telegraph.co.uk)

SIX NHS HOSPITALS ARE TO ADD PHEASANT, PARTRIDGE AND VENISON TO THEIR IN-PATIENT MENUS, reports the Countryside Alliance.  The move is the result of the BGA’s work to promote game as a healthy, sustainable, protein source.  Game is perfect for many hospital patients as it is nutritionally superior and higher in selenium than other meats.  In tests it was also easy to consume by patients with swallowing problems.  Hospital catering managers and patients have reacted positively to the idea.

A NETWORK OF VOLUNTEER GLEANING GROUPS, WELCOMED BY FARMERS, IS FLOURISING ACROSS THE UK, reports the Times.  For various reasons, including overproduction, yield improvements, labour shortages and fussy supermarket rules, up to 16% of a crop can be left in the ground.  This is usually ploughed straight back in – “a shocking waste,” says the Times, when 2.5m people used a food bank last year.  The gleaning movement collects fresh food that would otherwise rot, and gets it to facilities where undernourished people can access it.
The Times view on gleaning in Britain: Get On My Land | Comment | The Times

FARMING PROFITABILITY IS FORECAST TO SLIDE FOR ALL FARM TYPES THIS YEAR AND NEXT, reports Farmers Weekly.  As input cost rises start to bite, and the gaps created by cuts to BPS remain unplugged by the SFI, it is unlikely that the value of farm output will keep pace with the increases in fuel prices, fertiliser costs and animal feed.  Andersons, a farm business consultancy, estimates that “agflation” has been rising at 10% a year in recent months, compared to 5.5% for the more general CPI.  “For all farmers, it very much depends on when you sold you grain, and when you bought your inputs.”


Capital Grant Scheme Meeting - South East Water

£10,000 of Capital Grant Scheme funding available to Kent farmers and landowners.

Farmers and landowners in West Kent and surrounding areas are invited to a meeting to learn how to apply for £10k of Capital Grant Scheme funding from South East Water.

The grants, of up to £10k each, are for on-farm improvements such as pesticide handling areas, and other initiatives that help rover and groundwater quality. 

While this event is primarily for farmers in the Teise, Pembury or Hartlake catchments, there is support available to farmers across Kent and all are welcome to attend.

Wednesday 30th March 2022
9.30am (breakfast included)
Marden Cricket & Hockey Club, 319 Maidstone Rd, Marden TN12 9AG

To register: eventbrite.co.uk/e/293663674957

BASIS and NRoS0 points available

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