28th February 2020


Rural Rap

STATISTIC OF THE WEEK: Last year, R.A.B.I. South East gave out £140K in assistance to farming families.

THE ENVIRONMENT BILL HAS RECEIVED A MIXED REACTION FROM COUNTRYSIDE GROUPS INCLUDING THE CLA.  While the CLA welcomes the introduction of a robust, long-term framework of environment governance, with clear plans and targets, it does have some concerns.  The group arges that the Environment Bill must go hand-in-hand with the Agriculture Bill, saying that “while the Environment Bill sets out the ultimate goal of improving the natural environment, the Agriculture Bill introduces a key mechanism by which farmers and land managers can play their part.”  The CLA is concerned that the Environment Bill widens the ability to revoke abstraction licences without due compensation.  It also excludes heritage from its remit which could make historic barns and stone walls very vulnerable.   Read more…

THE COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE ALSO BELIEVES THAT THE ENVIRONMENT BILL WOULD BENEFIT FROM SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT.  While the CA also welcomes the bill and support the government’s aims and ambitions, it has identified five areas in which it would like to see some strengthening.  These are: the environmental principles; the ability to hold the Govt to the environmental targets set; greater independence for the OEP with stronger enforcement powers; greater powers to tackle fly-tipping; recognition that revoking abstraction licences without compensation could have very grave consequences for farmers.  Read more…

NINE SHOOTING AND COUNTRYSIDE GROUPS HAVE CALLED FOR THE END OF LEAD AND SINGLE-USE PLASTICS IN AMMUNITION, reports Farming UK among many others.  The call, which is to end the use of lead and single-use plastics in shotgun ammunition for live quarry shooting within five years, has been made in the light of significant recent advances in technology which would enable the transition to take place.  For the first time, biodegradable shot cups for steel shot, with the necessary ballistics to ensure lethality, are available.  The organisations, which include BASC, the British Game Alliance and the CA, argue that the move would benefit wildlife and the environment, while also safeguarded the growing market for healthy game meat.
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A NEW STUDY SHEDS LIGHT ON THE CONTRIBUTION MADE BY BRITISH GAMEKEEPERS TO WILDLIFE CONSERVATION AND HABITAT CREATION, reports Farming UK.  The activities of nearly 1,000 gamekeepers was studied as part of research looking into their environmental efforts.  Those who responded manage more than 4m acres of land across England, Scotland and Wales, equating to about 65% of sites designated for conservation.  Keepers provide 23,426 tonnes of supplementary food for farmland birds in winter; they plant c.117acres of trees; and privately fund over £2.2m of wild bird cover.  83% of respondents said that conservation as the main reason for tree planting activities.
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ANY MOVE TO TIGHTEN AGRICULTURAL PROPERTY RELIEF RULES COULD “DEVASTATE” FAMILY FARMS ACROSS THE UK, warns Farming UK.  The government is considering plans to make IHT rules stricter in a bid to raise around £800m a year.  Currently people can invest in agricultural land and their children do not have to pay IHT on their value if they are passed on after death.  Business property relief is also in the Chancellor’s sights – this gives up to 100% off IHT if the deceased has an interest in a firm or shares in an unlisted company.  But the NFU has argued that APR enables farmers to invest in their long-term future with the knowledge that their farm is sustainable for the next generation.   Read more…

A NEW BANK, SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR FARMERS BY FARMERS, IS HOPING TO GIVE THE INDUSTRY CONFIDENCE TO INVEST, reports the Farmers Guardian.  Oxbury has recently been approved by the Bank of England’s regulatory authorities and is signing up customers in the arable and dairy sectors.  As well as savings accounts and traditional term lending, Oxbury’s flagship product is Oxbury Farm Credit, a credit account which gives farmers the freedom to buy and pay for their inputs when it suits their cashflow.  The account will be available, initially, to arable businesses with more than 100ha and dairy farmers with over 100 cows, through their existing suppliers including HL Hutchinsons, Frontier Agriculture, Mole Valley Farmers and KW. Read more…

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT OF RURAL CRIME ON FARMERS’ MENTAL WELLBEING SHOULD RECEIVE MORE EMPHASIS, reports Farming UK.  The impacts of rural crime on farming businesses were presented at the NFU’s Conference this week, in a session dedicated to the rising scourge that cost £50m in 2018.  The session heard that organised criminals who target rural areas are ramping up their tactics.  There is a growth in the production of counterfeit pesticides, with criminals changing their modus operandi by becoming familiar with the farming calendar.  Meanwhile, livestock theft is becoming increasingly organised across the country and is no longer a matter of “taking one for the pot.”  Theft of sheepdogs, trailers and whole flocks of sheep is on the rise.  Read more…

THE COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE HAS LAUNCHED A RURAL CRIME SURVEY.  The group notes that crime has always been a key issue throughout the countryside but has risen up the agenda of rural concerns in the last years.  The extent of rural crime is only part of the problem…the simple fear of crime can have a detrimental affect on quality of life.  As such, the Countryside Alliance would like to hear your experiences of rural crime and policing in your area.  To take part in the survey, which is anonymous and should take only 10 minutes, please go to: rural policing survey.   Read more…

HEDGEROW GRANTS - Old Chalk New Downs

This year the Old Chalk New Downs project is offering a grant specifically for gapping up and planting of hedgerows. 
Planting for hedgerows runs from 1st November to 31st March, so the project is still taking last minute applications for this season, as well as for next. 
The project has the following objectives:

  • to restore historic hedgerows
  • to increase habitat connectivity and facilitate species movement
  • to interrupt surface flows of water and reduce run-off which may contribute to localised flooding

The grant will fund up to 90% of the proposal costs and will not fund hedge planting already funded through Countryside Stewardship agreements or any other trust or foundation. 

For further information, please contact OCND@kent.gov.uk   


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

5th April: Romney Marsh Wools Open Day
There will be opportunity to meet the lambs, as well as to find out more and about the sheep and life on the farm.  There will be Kentish crafts, food and drink available on the day from specially selected producers, plus activities for children of all ages, including the chance to have your photo taken in a tractor.  There will be a cookery demo from Julie Friend, Master Chef 2009.  The sponsored charity will, once again, be RABI.

FREE Entry
11.00am to 3.00pm
Rushfield, Giggers Green Road, Aldington, Kent TN25 7BT

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