18th September 2020


Rural Rap

SOME OF KENT’S MOST ICONIC PRODUCTS COULD BECOME PROTECTED IN JAPAN AS PART OF THE NEW UK/JAPAN TRADE DEAL, reports the Kent Messenger.  Whitstable oysters, Kentish ale, East Kent Golding hops and English sparkling wine are set to have GIs (Geographical Indications).  GIs have long carried considerable commercial weight – famous examples include champagne and Irish Whisky – and mean that products can only be marketing as such if they originate from the regions their name suggests.  The UK-Japan comprehensive economic partnership agreement was agreed in principle last weekend is the UK’s first major trade deal outside the EU.  kentonline.co.uk/kent-business/county-news/turning-japanese-kents-oysters-and-hops-to-get-protection-233727/

A SANDWICH NATURE RESERVE HAS BEEN DEEMED SAFE TO OPEN AFTER SEVEN YEARS, reports the Kent Messenger.  Formerly owned by pharma giant Pfizer, Monks Nature Reserve in Sandwich spans 70-acres of mainly lowland wet grassland and is home to several species of duck and water birds.  When Pfizer reduced its presence in the town in 2011, the land was gifted to the town council on the condition it was managed as a nature reserve for the benefit of local wildlife and the interest, education and enjoyment of residents and visitors  The council has now resolved all health and safety issues and reopened its gates.  Though rarely seen, water voles are present alongside otters, insects and wildflowers.  kentonline.co.uk/sandwich/news/nature-reserve-safe-to-open-after-seven-years-233833/

ALL RIVERS AND LAKES MONITORED IN ENGLAND HAVE FAILED TESTS FOR CHEMICAL POLLUTION, reports the Times and the BBC.  84% do not meet the government’s target of good ecological status.  There has been no progress towards the target of 100% healthy waters by 2027.  The most problematic pollutant are chemical sewage discharge, farming, and industrial chemicals.  In 2016, when figures were last published, 16% of waters were classed as good.  In fact, water quality hasn’t deteriorated since then, but it hasn’t improved as promised.  While water quality has improved since the 90s, it has now plateaued.  Just 14% of rivers are now rated good for wildlife and plants.  bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54195182

HIGH-TECH SCIENTIFIC DATA HAS CONFIRMED THE WORST UK HARVEST IN 25 YEARS, reports Farming UK.  This follows a year of extreme weather conditions.  New data has revealed the extent of the reductions in the amount of arable land sown with crops and also the yield at harvest.  This comes after a triple whammy for farmers: torrential rain at crucial times hampered sowing, an exceptionally dry spring affected plant growth, and heavy downpours in August created challenging harvest conditions.  There was a 40% reduction in areas of wheat, barley and OSR crops, compared to the past 5 year average.  Data also suggest an average fall in yield for these crops of around 15%, with tonnage per ha in some places down by two-thirds.   farminguk.com/news/data-confirms-record-poor-harvest-after-volatile-weather_56547.html

AN AGRITECH FIRM HAS RAISED £131M TO GROW THE LARGEST URBAN VERTICAL FARMING NETWORK IN THE WORLD, reports Farming UK.  The fresh capital infusion urban farming firm Infarm’s total funding to date to over £231m.  The German company says it underscores consumer appetite for a new approach to sustainable and local food production in the wake of the Covid crisis.  By 2025 its farming network is expected to reach over 5m square feet to become the largest distributed farming network in the world.  The farms are capable of generating the crop-equivalent of acres of farmland, the agritech firm has said.  It also believes that because of the integration of advanced engineering, the farms will save labour, land, water, energy and food miles.  It has already formed partnerships with M&S, Aldi and Selfridges.   farminguk.com/news/agri-tech-firm-raises-131m-to-develop-vertical-farms_56555.html

THE FIRST SHIPMENTS OF BRITISH BEEF ARE BEING PREPARED FOR THE US FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER 20 YEARS, reports Farming UK.  Shipments of beef will be heading to the US for the first time in two decades after three processing sites were given the go-ahead to export.  The deal is estimated to be worth £66m over the next five years.  IT comes after market access for UK beef was granted in March this year, following the US’s longstanding ban on EU beef – introduced in the wake of the BSE outbreak in 1996.  Last year was one of the best years on record for UK red meat exports – rocketing to over £1.5bn.    farminguk.com/news/-historic-moment-uk-beef-heads-to-us-for-first-time-in-20-years_56551.html


Invites you to join online in support of Kent RABI and Kent FCN. 

Sunday 4th October 2020, 17.30

This year, the service will be hosted online through Facebook and YouTube, and will be brought to you from Brookland Church on Romney Marsh. 

The service will beled by Rev Shuna Body, Rev Chris Hodgkins and Rev Dr Jonathan Arnold, with readings from Krisinta Boulden of Romney Marsh Wools. 


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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