24th January 2020


Rural Rap


A journalist for the national French radio station RTL, and the international radio station RFI, would like to pre-record a couple of interviews with farmers to discuss their views on the plans to replace CAP post-Brexit.

The journalist has input into a French radio show a bit like the BBC’s Farming Today.  It won’t be a live interview, but instead she will come to you, do the interview (radio so no cameras!) and will probably hope to spend some time on farm having a chat over a coffee.

The interview must be conducted before 31st January (next Friday).

If you are interested, please get in touch via sophiedproudfoot@gmail.com or info@ruralplc.com BY RETURN.

STATISTIC OF THE WEEK: Thanet has the lowest tree coverage in the UK at below 4% - way below even London which has 29%.

THE FINALISTS FOR THE TASTE OF KENT AWARDS 2020 HAVE BEEN REVEALED, reports Produced in Kent.  Public voting has now closed and the three finalists in each category will now enter the final stages of the judges’ scrutiny.  The winners will be announced at an awards dinner on 5th March.  Award categories include the Kent Countryside Awards, Beer of the Year, Butcher’s Shop of the Year, Cider/Perry of the Year, Food Business of the Year, Local Food Retailer of the Year, Juice of the Year and Wine of the Year.  For a full list of finalists, please visit: producedinkent.co.uk/finalists-revealed-taste-kent-awards-2020/

RABI SUPPORTERS FLOCKED TO ROCHESTER CATHEDRAL THIS WEEK, reports RABI.  The annual Plough Sunday service was held to celebrate the farming community.  It was led by the Bishop of Dover, Rose Hudson-Wilkin, and the Bishop of Rochester, James Langstaff.  South East Regional Manager Sally Field, and Kent Committee Chair Charles Tassell, both gave readings. rabi.org.uk/rochester-plough-sunday/

RURAL FIRMS ARE REMINDED THAT THERE IS STILL TIME TO TAP INTO THE KCC LEADER PROGRAMME, reports the Kent Messenger.  The multi-million pound funding pot will close at the end of this year after five years of investment.  During that period it has provided over £5m for rural businesses and communities in the county.  It has created more than 200 jobs and supported more than 100 projects, ranging from farm diversification, business start-ups, business expansion and community infrastructure provision.  Grants of between £2,500 and £50,000 are given for projects that will make a difference to the running of their business and their immediate rural community.

A KENT FARMING BUSINESS HAS BEEN FINED OVER £35K AFTER AN EMPLOYEED WAS CRUSHED BY A CONCRETE BEAM, reports Farming UK and Farmers Weekly.  Ted Elson, of AA Clifton Ltd, was working with other employees to move six metre-long concrete beams from the farmyard to the farmhouse.  Each beam weighed over 300kg and had to be moved by a telehandler.  An HSE investigation found that the operation to move the beams was carried out at short notice and had not had proper planning.  Employees were not trained in lifting and slinging operations.

HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE TURNED UP TO HELP PLANT CHERRY TREES IN MARGATE, reports the Kent Messenger.  An ambitious plan to make Thanet greener was met with overwhelming support from the community.  The ITTWI secured £1m of funding from the Forestry Commission and River Oaks Strategic Partners to plant hundreds of trees on six sites across the district.  Over 300 people turned up for the first day of planting.  The tree coverage in Thanet is below 4% and is the lowest in the country – even London has 29%.

THE CLA HAS WARNED AGAINST RUSHING THE TRANSITION TO THE NEW POST-BREXIT FARM SUBSIDY MODEL, reports the CLA and Farming UK.  The Agriculture Bill provides a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for British farming, according to the CLA, but the government is encouraged to take the transition slowly.  While the new ELMS is not due to be universally available for four years, the transition period towards the new regime is set to begin in less than a year.  The CLA is encouraging the Govt to delay the start of phasing out Direct Payments until a comprehensive business adaptation programme is in place – providing grants, advice and training.

THE LATEST VERSION OF THE AGRICULTURE BILL HAS BEEN DISSECTED BY THE FARMERS GUARDIAN.  While we did see a previous version last year, there are a number of changes and additions.  These are: multi-annual budget, support for tenant farmers, approach to improving soil health, food security and production, more limited powers for the Welsh Government, powers to tackle supply chain unfairness and recognition for native breeds.  The areas which remain unchanged are: the move away from direct payments, red meat levy repatriation, delinked payments and “exceptional” support.  A Policy Update will be published to accompany the new Agriculture Bill.  Though it will not be a “scheme manual” complete with payment rates, it will contain more detail about the ELMS, as well as more information about productivity proposals including grants, data and research and development, as well as how the Bill plans to tackle unfair trading practices.

KUBOTA HAS UNVEILED A NEW FUTURISTIC CONCEPT TRACTOR AT A PRODUCT EXHIBITION IN JAPAN, reports Farming UK.  The “Dream Tractor,” which also goes by the name of X Tractor, was on display at an event in Kyoto.  Equipped with the latest artificial intelligence and electrification technology, the tractor is completely autonomous.  IT includes a fully unmanned operation driven by artificial intelligence.  Based on various data such as weather data and growth rates, AI chooses the appropriate operation and makes actions timely.  It is also fully electric, helping its environmental credentials. farminguk.com/news/kubota-unveils-new-autonomous-concept-tractor_54794.html

THE ENGLISH FARMLAND MAKET PROVED RESILIENT LAST YEAR, reports Farming UK.  Average prices held firm, according to Strutt & Parker.  Analysis shows that the average price of arable land in 2019 was £9,200/acre – exactly the same as in 2018.  Meanwhile, the percentage of farms marketing during H1 that were either sold or under offer by the end of the year was higher than the previous year.  The land agents attribute the numbers to a range of factors including competitive bidding from lifestyle and non-farmer buyers, particularly within a hotspot “crescent” of Hampshire, Berkshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.

WATER ABSTRACTION: New Authorisations Announcement

Extension to application period from 31 Dec 2019 to 30 June 2020

If you are currently abstracting for a previously exempt activity then this applies to you. 

A helpful six month extension has just been announced to the application window for previously exempt abstractions.  This will benefit trickle irrigators, wetland operators and other previously exempt abstracting business.  The New Authorisation regulations came into force on 1 January 2018, meaning that those previously exempt abstractions now require a licence. 

This is the LAST OPPORTUNITY to secure these protected rights for your abstraction and cannot be retrospectively applied after 30 June 2020. 

Apply now at: www.gov.uk/guidance/water-management-abstract-or-impound-water


4th March: Farm Expo
Farm Expo, organised by the Kent Agricultural Society, showcases machinery, supplies and services for the agricultural industry with trade stands, seminars and networking opportunities.  Kent’s standout agricultural event will host major national and international providers of farm machinery and services and will host seminars on the industry’s trending topics.
Trade stands can be booked until 31st January by contacting Meghan Rice-Wilson on meghan@kentshowgroumd.co.uk / 01622 633 057
The Kent Showground, Detling
To register your attendance: http://bit.ly/2LdY4l1

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