27th March 2020

Categories:

Rural Rap

 WEBSITE HAS BEEN SET UP TO HIGHLIGHT WHICH LOCAL FOOD AND DRINK PRODUCERS ARE STILL IN OPERATION DURING THE LOCKDOWN, reports Kent Online.  Produced in Kent has launched www.helpkentbuylocal.co.uk which it is hoped will allow many producers to continue trading during this challenging period.  The organisation is reaching out to both its members and non-members in a bid to develop a definitive list.  All listing for firms are free.
Read more…

SHEPHERD NEAME IS ASKING 85% OF ITS STAFF TO GO ON “FURLOUGH” AS A RESULT OF THE PANDEMIC AS IT TURNS ITS FOCUS TO PRODUCING BEERS FOR SUPERMARKETS, reports the Kent Messenger.  It is requesting around 1,300 people from its head office and pubs to step aside from their current roles on a temporary basis.  The company will take advantage of the coronavirus job retention scheme which will see all affected paid 80% of their salary up to £30k, and those earning above that will see their salaries topped up to 80% by the company.  Directors are to take a 20% pay cut.  The company also confirmed that no staff would be made redundant.  All hourly paid staff will be paid for March in full and on the normal date.   Read more…

ALL AUCTIONS HAVE NOW BEEN SUSPENDED AT THE ASHFORD MARKET EXCEPT LIVESTOCK AUCTIONS, reports Hobbs Parker.  Livestock Auctions are continuing having been approved by DEFRA to protect the food chain, but are subject to very strict rules.  All offices are now closed to visitors and nearly all staff are working from home.  Normal telephone numbers do work, but may be subject to a short delay. Read more…

THE KENT COUNTY SHOW AND THE FAVERSHAM HOP FESTIVAL HAVE BOTH BEEN CANCELLED IN THE LIGHT OF THE PANDEMIC, reports Kent Online.  Organisers of the County Show described the decision as “extremely difficult” and said that they had investigated every possibility of holding the show in a way that would be safe for all.  The organisers of the Faversham Hop Festival made their cancellation announcement “with great sadness,” but felt that it was the “right thing to do.”  The event, which attracts thousands of people each year, should have been held in September.   Read more…
Read more…

FARMERS STILL FACE A SUBSTANTIAL SHORTFALL OF WORKERS TO HELP PICK FRUIT AND VEG DESPITE A CAMPAIGN SIGNING UP 10,000 PEOPLE, reports Farming UK.  Despite a recent call for a “land army of employees” to support farmers and growers, around 90,000 jobs still need filling.  Last year saw 98% of pickers being overseas, with just 2% British.  Around 10,000 people have already signed up to work at more than 500 farms across the country as part of the new “Feed the Nation” campaign.  The initiative is being spearheaded by Concordia, HOPS and Fruitful.  The groups are calling for British workers to apply for these paid positions on local farms across the UK.  Workers will be paid at least minimum wage, and many farms pay the National Living Wage or more.  All roles come with training, which can last up to three weeks.
To apply for work, please visit: Read more…
Read more…
Read more…
Read more…

FREELANCERS AND SELF-EMPLOYED WILL ALSO RECEIVE FINANCIAL SUPPORT DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK, reports Farmers Weekly.  The Chancellor confirmed yesterday that the government will support these workers by providing a taxable grant of up to 80% of their monthly net earnings, averaged over the last three years, up to £2.5k a month. It will be available across the UK for at least three months and will bring self-employed workers on a par with employees furloughed under the Job Retention Scheme.  Read more…

FARMERS, FARMWORKERS AND VETS ARE INCLUDED ON A LIST OF KEY WORKERS, reports Farmers Weekly.  The key workers are entitled to send their children to school throughout the crisis and includes professions that are considered vital to fighting the pandemic.  The government guidance reads: “this includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods.”  The announcement was welcomed by farming bodies and vets.  The government says it will do “whatever it takes” to ensure people have the food they need.   Read more…

THE THREE CROP RULE HAS FINALLY BEEN RELAXED FOR FARMERS IN ENGLAND FOLLOWING MONTHS OF LOBBYING, reports Farmers Weekly and Farming UK.  The rule is being relaxed for all farmers for 2020 – no just flood-hit growers unable to get crops in the ground. Defra also unveiled £6m through a further extension of its Farming Recovery Fund to help farmers.  The Three Crop Rule was brought over from EU law when the UK left the EU in January, and requires farmers managing over 30ha of arable to grow at least three different crops on that land.
Read more…
Read more…

RED TRACTOR HAS SUSPENDED PHYSICAL FARM INSPECTIONS “UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE” AS A RESULT OF THE PANDEMIC, reports Farming UK.  The food assurance scheme will carry out a remote assessment to maintain certification instead.  In order to maintain certification, there will be a requirement for the certification body to carry out a remote assessment.   Read more…

BRITISH LION IS TO HALT MOST ON-FARM INSPECTIONS IN THE FACE OF THE EPIDEMIC, reports Farming UK.  With the government appealing for people to avoid unnecessary contact, the British Egg Industry Council has now decided to suspend inspections for the time being.  Instead a protocol is being developed for remote assessments, which could include providing coverage via a smartphone.   Read more…

VETERINARY PRACTICES WILL REMAIN OPEN FOR EMERGENCY CARE AND TO MAINTAIN THE FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN, reports Farming UK.  Practices are remaining open to focus on emergency care and urgent treatment for animals, while reducing face-to-face contact.  Practices are advised to cancel routine and non-urgent appointments.  Animal owners must also comply with strict social distancing measures.   Read more…

BUTTERFLY NUMBERS HAVE INCREASED TO THEIR BEST SEASON IN 22 YEARS, reports the Countryside Alliance and the Guardian.  Thanks to an unusually warm and wet summer in 2019, butterfly numbers have increased.  The latest results from the annual UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme revealed that over half of UK butterfly species showed higher population levels in 2019 than in 2018.  Butterfly numbers benefited from targeted conservation management to protect and improve their habitats, as well as an unusually warm and wet summer.
Read more…
Read more…

THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC IS SHUTTING DOWN INDUSTRIAL ACTIVITY AND TEMPORARILY SLASHING AIR POLLUTION LEVELS AROUND THE WORLD, reports the Guardian.  Satellite imagery from the European Space Agency shows that over the past six weeks, levels of NO2 over cities and industrial clusters in Asia and Europe were markedly lower than the same period last year.  NO2 is produced by car engines, power plants and other industrials processes, and is thought to exacerbate respiratory illnesses such as asthma.   Read more…

Employment Opportunities

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
It is reasonable to assume that most imminent events have now been cancelled or postponed.
Instead of the calendar, if you have any employment opportunities that you would like us to advertise on your behalf, please email sophiedproudfoot@gmail.com by Thursday 5pm.

SEASONAL WORKERS: PICKING / DRIVING / PACKING
https://hopslaboursolutions.com/seasonal-work/

ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT CORONAVIRUS?

Do you need someone to talk to?
The Farming Community Network
Helpline: 03000 111 999
7am – 11pm, every day of the year
Available to anyone in the farming community
fcn.org.uk

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