21st May 2021


Rural Rap

KENT POLICE TOOK PART IN A TWO-DAY OPERATION TARGETING RURAL CRIME IN WEST KENT, reports the Kent Messenger and Kent Police.  Stolen quad bikes were seized, as were vehicles linked to suspected criminals.  The operation was focused on areas close to Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks.  It was supported by officers from the Rural Task Force, police dog patrols, Sussex Police and the Metropolitan Police.  Two stolen quad bikes were recovered from Orpington.  A number of people were arrested and taken into custody.

KENT’S “PLAN BEE” HAS LAUNCHED A POLLINATOR PUBLIC PERCEPTION SURVEY, reports Produced in Kent.  KCC’s pollinator action plan, which has commenced at the same time as Plantlife’s national “No Mow May” campaign, hopes to use the survey to gain a better understanding of people’s views on pollinators and wildflower management.  The deadline for submission is 31st May.

FARMERS WANTING TO LEAVE THE INDUSTRY WILL BE OFFERED A LUMP SUM PAYMENT OF UP TO £100K, reports Farming UK and the Times, among others.  The aim is to help release land for younger people to “fulfil their dream.”  The “exit payments” scheme will be open to applications next year.  Defra hopes it will attract many farmers who want to leave the industry but have not done so for financial reasons.  The average age of farmers in England is 60, with just 2% under 35.  6% are believed to want to quit but are unable to do so.  However, some farmers are concerned at the implication that older farmers lack entrepreneurial spirit, and note that the average age of 60 fails to reflect the number of younger people who work with their parents on farms.  The CLA said there are “still many questions to be answered.”

THE GOVERNMENT PLANS TO PLANT 7,000HA OF WOODLAND PER YEAR BY 2024, reports the CLA and Farming UK.  The CLA says that the ambitious targets need to be underpinned by the right policies.  The tree planning will come alongside new initiatives to improve the health of our trees, create more woodlands in cities and deliver thousands of green jobs.  The increase in woodland creation rates will be backed by new funding for tree nurseries to improve domestic tree production and maintain high levels of biosecurity.  The CLA welcomes the plans but said that “the challenge of reaching this target and maintaining this planting rate should not be underestimated.”

SHOOTING’S CONTRIBUTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION MAKE IT A KEY PLAYER IN THE GOVERNMENT’S NATURE RECOVERY PLANS, argues BASC.  Shooting spends an estimated £350m annually on conservation that benefits some of the UK’s most vulnerable habitats and species.  For example, the government wants to plant 30,000ha of woodlands each year and have earmarked £500m for trees and woodland.  Shoots already manage 500,000ha of woodland and 100,000ha of copses.  Management involves controlling deer and squirrel numbers, a key part of shoot woodland management.  The plans also include the possible reintroduction of species including wildcat, beaver, pine marten, dormice, corncrake, short-haired bumblebee and large blue butterfly.  The shooting community has a long history of successful reintroductions, including grey partridge, water voles, red squirrels and osprey.

A NATIONAL REMEMBRANCE SERVICE WILL PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY TO REMEMBER THOSE WHO HAVE DIED IN FARMING COMMUNITIES, reports FCN.  The service, which will be led by FCN, will pay tribute to those who have died because of farm accidents, Covid-19, and those who have died by suicide.  It is for family members and friends to remember those who have died and will also provide an opportunity to recognise on-going grief by remembering lost loved ones.  The service is a free ticketed event and will take place on 7 November at 3.30pm at Ripon Cathedral.  It will also be livestreamed.

RABI IS TO EXTEND ITS FREE HELPLINE THIS AUTUMN TO PROVIDE THE FARMING COMMUNITY WITH A 24-HOUR SERVICE, reports RABI and Farming UK.  The national farming charity believes that a “round the clock” service will better meet the needs of a sector renowned for working long and often unpredictable hours.

THE BRITISH STRAWBERRY SEASON HAS STARTED LATER THIS YEAR AFTER THE COOLER WEATHER, reports Farming UK.  The cooler winter and spring caused flowering and ripening to occur more gradually. British grown strawberries are now available to buy in retailers across the country following the cooler weather.  However, Brits’ appetite for the berries has shown no sign of slowing down: over the past 12 months, shoppers spent over £772m on the fruit.  This is a 10% increase year on year.  Around 70% of all strawberries bought in the UK are now grown by British farmers, and UK growers ensure that the country is self-sufficient throughout the whole summer season from May to October.  The berry industry is now worth an all-time high of £1.69bn.


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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