26th March 2021


Rural Rap

A FREE EVENT FOR KENT SCHOOLCHILDREN TO LEARN ABOUT FOOD AND FARMING WILL BE HELD VIRTUALLY THIS YEAR, reports the Kent Messenger.  The Living Land, which is usually part of the lead up to the Kent Show, is staged by the Kent County Agricultural Society.  Last year’s event was cancelled due to Covid, but this year’s will take place virtually on 6th May.  The free event for Year 3 and Year 4 usually invites schools to the Kent Event Centre at Detling to see educational displays, but this year pupils will be able to watch a collection of videos covering all aspects of farming and agriculture.  There will also be a series of livestreams for children to ask questions.

DYSON HAS PRODUCED ITS FIRST CROP OF BERRIES IN ITS 15-ACRE GLASSHOUSE, reports the Telegraph.  Dyson and his team have spent the last eight years in the farming industry, marrying the traditional methods with new-age technology.  The result is British strawberries on sale in supermarkets in March.  Growing in a colossal 15-acre glasshouse in Lincolnshire, the 700,000 strawberry plants have been handpicked to produce 750 tonnes of British strawberries, avoiding the unnecessary air miles accumulated by strawberries imported at this time of year.  The glasshouse uses surplus heat from the farm’s anaerobic digesters, which use waste crops from he land to generate enough energy for 10,000 homes.  Dyson has created an entirely carbon-neutral, circular farming system, where agriculture is driving a technology revolution, and technology is driving an agricultural revolution.   telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/features/dysons-british-strawberries-sale-first-time/

EXTINCTION REBELLION IS ATTEMPTING TO MOBILISE ECO-ACTIVISTS FOR A MASS TRESPASS OF THE COUNTRYSIDE, reports Farming UK and Farmers Weekly, among others.  The demo is being organised for Saturday 24th April. Extinction Rebellion says much of the land in England is being “criminally misused,” including deforestation, and moors and peatland being burned.  There are fears that farmers could now be affected by local action at a critical time of the year, with lambing, calving and fieldwork in full flow.  While XR claims that the protest should not target farmers, the protest calls on those attending to “peacefully climb over ‘No Trespassing’ or ‘Private Property’ signs at ‘attach your own message.’” The Countryside Alliance has blasted the planned protest as “blatant anarchism,” and the CLA said it “beggars belief.”

THE RURAL ECONOMY’S EXCLUSION FROM THE “SUPER DEDUCTION” PLAN HAS BEEN SLAMMED AS “PERVERSE AND DISCRIMINATORY,” reports Farming UK.  The new, two year 130% capital allowance announced in the Spring Budget is limited to companies, excluding partnerships and sole traders.  Beginning next month, it will cut companies’ tax bill by 25p for every pound invested in new equipment.  This is worth around £25bn to UK companies over the period.  But excluding partnerships and sole traders could limit productivity in rural sectors where these business structures dominate.

POTATO GROWERS HAVE RETURNED A RESOUNDING “NO” IN THE AHDB BALLOT, reports Farmers Weekly and Farming UK.  The ballot was launched in mid-February and the results revealed that 66% were in favour of scrapping the levy, with just 34% voting to retain it.  It is now over to Defra to determine what action to take.  The result is close to the outcome of the recent exercise in the horticulture sector where 61% of growers were opposed to the levy.  In that instance, George Eustice has indicated he intends to respect the outcome of the ballot.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS SAID IT RECOGNISES THE “PROBLEMS AND DISTRESS” HARE COURSING CAUSES FOR FARMERS, reports Farming UK.  It has also said it is looking at further action to tackle the crime.  Defra was responding to an online petition calling for tougher punishments for those who commit hare coursing and poaching crimes.  The petition noted that the current punishment for hare coursing is “not fit for purpose” and provides no deterrent.  As well as the animal welfare issues, there are various other associated offences including trespass, crop damage and dangerous driving.  Theft and criminal damage are also linked, and intimidation and threats of violence are commonplace.  This comes as farmers can complete a confidential survey sharing evidence of the real prevalence of hare coursing, amid fears that the crime is significantly underreported.

THE NFU HAS CREATED NEW COUNTRYSIDE CODE RESOURCES TO HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT LIVESTOCK WORRYING AND RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERSHIP, reports the NFU.  As 40% of people expect to walk more post-Covid than they did before, the infographics are designed to be shared on social media to raise awareness of how to enjoy the countryside responsibly, while protecting farm businesses.  To find and download the FREE images, click on the link below.

RABI ZOOM QUIZ! - Friday 26th March 2021, at 7.30pm

To take place via Zoom from the comfort of your own sofa.
A FREE fun, informal evening for all ages.

For more information and to book your place, go to


RABI has launched the largest ever research project in England and Wales relating to the wellbeing of farming people.  This wide-ranging survey will consider for the first time the relationship between physical health, mental wellbeing and the health of farm businesses.

Who can take part: farmers, farm workers, their spouses and adult-aged children
When: 11th January to 31st March 2021
Content: the survey will take about 15 minutes to complete and will cover three aspects: your mental health, your physical health, and the health of your farming business.
Availablity Online: rabi.org.uk/BigFarmingSurvey
Available in print: hard copies will be circulated in various farming magazines and via postal farming lists.  Alternatively, email FarmSurvey@exeter.ac.uk

The aim is to get 26,000 questionnaires completed, to give a better understanding of the overall health of our industry, and to help target the available support to where it is most needed.


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