23rd October 2020


Rural Rap

AN EXPANSION OF THE UK’S BIGGEST FRUIT GROWING FIRM IS SET TO PROVIDE THE BIGGEST LOCAL JOBS BOOST IN RECENT TIMES, reports the Kent Messenger.  FW Mansfield & Son, which has bases spread across Kent, has bought 275 acres of farmland near Canterbury.  The firm plans to turn the fields into a top fruit enterprise and, as a result, needs to recruit 80 new employees.  Some employees will be housed in caravans on a neighbouring site.  It hopes that the roles will be taken by locals left unemployed by Covid.  kentonline.co.uk/canterbury/news/fruit-farms-huge-expansion-to-create-80-jobs-235956/

THE ENGLISH WINE INDUSTRY WAS SAVED FROM DISASTER BY STAYCATIONERS, PATRIOTIC DRINKERS AND A SUNNY SEPTEMBER, reports the Times.  The domestic tourism industry boom of the summer resulted in record vineyard tours and table bookings at on-site restaurants.  More than 200 of the 500 British vineyards are open to the public and increasing visitor numbers also drove a sharp increase in sales.  Waitrose says sales of English sparkling wine are up 33% y-o-y, far ahead of an 11.7% overall increase in wine sales.  While this year’s yields are down, the fruit is said to be “bursting with flavours” and destined for a special vintage.  Kent’s Hush Heath described “a huge increase in visitors to the winery, both locally and from visitors from further afield.”   thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/september-sun-helps-english-wines-prosper-mc5qm9nvr

KENT’S RURAL TASK FORCE DEVOTED LAST WEEK TO METAL AND WASTE CRIME, reports Kent Police.  During the week, fines were issued to fly-tippers and arrests were made as part of a week of action.  The Rural Task Force teamed up with local authorities in a bid to identify people disposing of waste illegally.  Arrests and fines were issued in Thanet, Swale, Maidstone, Dover, Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay.   kent.police.uk/news/kent/news2/policing-news/2010/rural-officers-work-with-local-partners-to-tackle-fly-tippers-across-kent/

THE GOVERNMENT HAS SUFFERED A NEW BLOW AS PEERS VOTE TO ENSURE FUTURE TRADE DEALS MEET THE UK’S HIGH FOOD AND FARMING STANDARDS, reports Farming UK and Farmers Weekly.  Both amendments will now return back to MPs once again, in a parliamentary process known as “ping pong.”  Last week the government rejected both amendments, arguing tht they were unnecessary.  But farming industry groups have warned that the UK may be forced to accept lower standards to secure a future trade deal, and the British public have also raised concerns with over 1m signatories added to an NFU petition.

BARCLAYS HAS OPENED A NEW FARM LAB TO EXPERIMENT WITH THE LATEST AGRITECH, reports Farming UK.  The farm, located at Lincoln University, will offer entrepreneurs and researchers access to some of the latest technology.  The partnership between Barclays and the university aims to support farmers as they tackled ongoing challenges in applying agritech.  The farm features traditional test and growing areas, including soft fruit and crop growing facilities, beef cattle and sheep herds, a walled garden and commercial polytunnel growth space.  farminguk.com/news/barclays-opens-farm-to-encourage-agri-tech-innovation_56798.html

OVER HALF OF YOUNG PEOPLE WANT TO SWAP CITY LIFE FOR RURAL IDYLL, reports Farming UK.  A CLA survey of over 1,000 young Londoners found that 55% of 18-34 year olds want to move to a rural area because of the pandemic.  With 25% of the rural population aged over 65, compared with just 17% of the urban population, rural areas are ageing faster than anywhere else in the UK.  But the movement of young people to the countryside would be a welcome reversal of that trend.  Cheaper housing stock was the number one pull, with digital connectivity and the opportunity to home-working also being rated as important.   farminguk.com/news/1-in-2-young-people-want-to-swap-city-for-countryside_56817.html


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

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