7th January 2022


Rural Rap

ALDI IS APPEALING TO KENT’S FARMERS TO JOIN ITS RANKS AS SUPPLIERS, reports the Kent Messenger and Farming UK.  The firm has announced plans to recruit more than 100 extra British suppliers this year and is encouraging those based in Kent to get in touch.  Aldi has already pledged to increase its spend with British suppliers by £3.5bn p.a. by the end of 2025.  Last year it spent a total of £9bn with UK companies.

TOTALLY NATURAL SOLUTIONS HAS SEEN REVENUES SOAR 44% OVER THE PAST YEAR, reports the Kent Messenger.  Based in Paddock Wood, the business creates natural and sustainable hop oils for the sector.  Hop oil is extracted from hop cones and provides the distinctive aroma and flavour from the plant.  Traditional methods of extraction employed strong solvents, but the Kent firm now uses a fully natural process involving no chemicals or additives.  Its popularity has triggered a turnover rise of 44% to £3.9m in 2021. It has ambitions to generate turnover of £25m over the next three years.

A £40M SOLAR FARM SPANNING 290 ACRES HAS BEEN PROPOSED FOR SITTINGBOURNE FARMLAND, reports the Kent Messenger.  JBM Solar wants to build the plant, which would generate enough electricity to power 26,000 homes, on farmland near Iwade.  It would be located alongside Raspberry Hill Lane and cover land between Lower Halstow and Iwade.  The park will be designed to last 40 years, and will take six months to build, at a cost of £40m.  JBM is seeking the views of residents in a public consultation that runs until 13 January.

THE FUTURE OF FISHING IN KENT IS BEING PUT AT RISK BY A PROPOSED GARDEN VILLAGE, reports Kent Online.  Fish Legal believes that Maidstone Council’s plan to create a new settlement of 5,000 homes at Lenham Heath will jeopardise the lives of wild brown trout, seat trout and protected white clawed crayfish that live in the Stour, all of which are particularly susceptible to pollution.  Their objection is one of more than 2,000 responses triggered by the public consultation on the borough’s Local Plan Review.

SUE NELSON, CHAIR OF PRODUCED IN KENT, HAS BEEN AWARDED A CBE, reports Produced in Kent.  The champion of Kent’s food and drink sector has received the title in recognition of her services to small businesses in the UK.  The CBE is only awarded to individuals for having a prominent role at national level, or a leading role at regional level through service to the community.  Sue Nelson has been Chair of PinK since June 2021, having been on the Board since 2020.

TOUGH NEW PROPOSALS TO TACKLE HARE COURSING HAVE BEEN UNVEILED, reports Farming UK, the CLA and Countryside Alliance.  The proposals have been put forward as a government amendment to its own Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill following sustained lobbying by farming unions and rural organisations.  They seek to increase the maximum penalty for trespassing in pursuit of game under the Game Acts to an unlimited fine and introducing – for the first time – the possibility of up to six months’ imprisonment.  They include two new offences: trespass with the intention of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare; being equipped with the intention of doing the same.

JOHN DEERE HAS REVEALED A FULLY AUTONOMOUS TRACTOR THAT IS READY FOR LARGE-SCALE PRODUCTION, reports Farming UK.  The machine, which was unveiled in Las Vegas on Tuesday, is for a specific purpose: to feed the world.  It has six pairs of stereo cameras, which enable 360-degree obstacle detection and the calculation of distance.  It also continuously checks its position, ensuring it operates where it is supposed to, and is accurate to within 1 inch.  To use it, farmers need only transport the machine to a field and configure it for autonomous operation.  While it is operational, the farmer can leave the field to focus on other tasks while monitoring the machine’s status from their mobile device.

AONB KENT DOWNS : Grants for farmers, land managers and landowners

Applications are now open for the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme (link)

The three year scheme aims to fund outcomes for People, Place, Climate and Nature in the Kent Downs.  It is possible to apply for more than one year.  Applications can range from £250k, to no miminum.  Funding can be up to 100%, but value for money is part of the assessment criteria.

Applicants will be supported to carry out projects that:

  • Provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and cultural heritage
  • Support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses
  • Mitigate the impacts of climate change
  • Support nature recovery


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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