19th March 2021


Rural Rap

WORK HAS BEGUN ON UPGRADING THE HORTICULTURAL SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH FACILITIES IN EAST MALLING, reports the Kent Messenger.  The NIAB EMR has secured funds from the government’s Strength in Places fund to enhance its offering through the Growing Kent & Medway initiative.  The project brings together a consortium of businesses and academic institutions across the county, focused on boosting the horticulture, food and drink industries. The work is also benefitting from a contribution from the East Malling Trust to build modern research glasshouses and plant-growth facilities.

THE SHORTLIST FOR THIS YEAR’S TASTE OF KENT AWARDS HAS BEEN REVEALED, reports Kent Online and Produced in Kent.  Ore than 41,000 votes were received, up over 200% on last year.  The top three finalists in each category will be subject to the judging panel before the winners are announced in a virtual ceremony on May 11th.

KENT CRISPS HAVE LAUNCHED THE NEWEST ADDITION TO THEIR RANGE: LAMB & ROSEMARY, reports Produced in Kent.  Staying true to the brand’s signature approach of working with Kent producers, the new flavour uses grass fed Romney lamb from Kent Shepherd.  The crisps, launched in time for Easter, are available from independent stockists across the South East.

DOG THEFT IS AN ONGOING PROBLEM THAT HAS SEEN A DRAMATIC RISE IN INCIDENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, reports Farming UK and the Countryside Alliance.  According to DogLost, a UK charity that helps victims of dog theft, “dognappings” have risen from 172 in 2019 to 465 in 2020.  Nottinghamshire Police has become the first UK force to appoint a dedicated officer to tackle dog theft.  This comes amid reports of a chilling new tactic being used in Kent, with some thieves reportedly driving around in a white van with fake RSPCA stickers and branding.

EU FARM WORKERS ARE REMINDED TO APPLY FOR SETTLED STATUS BY 30 JUNE, reports Farming UK.  Farming businesses are urged to check if their EU employees have applied to stay in the country as part of the post-Brexit settled status scheme.  All EU citizens must apply to the scheme by 30 June 2021 to continue to live and work in the UK.

A NEW FUND WORTH £2.7M WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO LOCAK AUTHORITIES SO THEY CAN WORK WITH FARMERS AND LANDOWNERS IN ORDER TO INCREASE TREE PLANTING, reports Farming UK.  The government expects that up to 50 grants worth £50,000 to £300,000 will be available for local authorities across the county.  Local authorities are then “strongly encouraged” to work with other organisations and private landowners to deliver tree planting.

FARM CHARITY RABI IS TO SELL OFF ITS TWO CARE HOMES, reports Farmers Weekly.  Farming families have reacted with sadness and dismay after a flagship agricultural charity unveiled plans to sell off its residential care homes.  RABI said that the two homes, in Suffolk and Somerset, were no longer in demand by farming people.  Founded in 1860, RABI is farming’s oldest and largest charity.  The homes were established in the 80s to care for people from farming backgrounds.  RABI said its trustees had made the difficult decision to sell the homes as individuals increasingly wanted to receive care at home or within the local community.

RABI ZOOM QUIZ! - Friday 26th March 2021, at 7.30pm

To take place via Zoom from the comfort of your own sofa.
A FREE fun, informal evening for all ages.

For more information and to book your place, go to


RABI has launched the largest ever research project in England and Wales relating to the wellbeing of farming people.  This wide-ranging survey will consider for the first time the relationship between physical health, mental wellbeing and the health of farm businesses.

Who can take part: farmers, farm workers, their spouses and adult-aged children
When: 11th January to 31st March 2021
Content: the survey will take about 15 minutes to complete and will cover three aspects: your mental health, your physical health, and the health of your farming business.
Availablity Online: rabi.org.uk/BigFarmingSurvey
Available in print: hard copies will be circulated in various farming magazines and via postal farming lists.  Alternatively, email FarmSurvey@exeter.ac.uk

The aim is to get 26,000 questionnaires completed, to give a better understanding of the overall health of our industry, and to help target the available support to where it is most needed.


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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