30th July 2021


Rural Rap

THE UK’S FIRST EVER BISON RANGERS HAVE BEEN SELECTED TO HELP INTRODUCE THE ANIMALS TO KENT, reports the BBC.  A herd of four European bison will live in Blean Woods near Canterbury as part of a £1.5m project, led by Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wildwood Trust.  The breed is the closest living relative to ancient steppe bison which once roamed Britain.  The two rangers, Tom Gibbs and Donovan Wright, are starting work ahead of the bison arriving into the area in 2022.  They were picked from more than 1,000 applicants from around the world.

A NEW STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP HAS BEEN FORMED TO PROVIDE SUPPORT ACTIVITIES TO START UPS AND SMALL BUSINESSES, reports Produced in Kent.  Kent Foundation and Produced in Kent will start by running a four-session training series at the end of September focused on financial planning.  The pandemic triggered a number of food and drink start ups across the county, and the partnership want to ensure those businesses have a solid financial plan in place. The training sessions will be provided by Smart Support.

GROWING KENT & MEDWAY HAS ANNOUNCED £3M IN R&D GRANTS, reports Produced in Kent.  The grants will be for projects that support inclusive economic growth and environmentally sustainable practices and innovations.  Funding grants of up to £250l will be made available to assist projects that aim to develop green technologies, processes or products for horticultural food and drink businesses across Kent and Medway.  A unique requirement of the funding application will be an expectation that businesses commit to delivering social value back to the region, perhaps through community engagement, or by raising awareness of career pathways.

THE FOOD LOOP APP TO TACKLE FOOD WASTE HAS RECEIVED BACKING FROM BUSINESSES SPANNING THE ENTIRE FOOD CHAIN, reports Produced in Kent.  Successfully garnering support from businesses across the county that represent every area in the food chain, Produced in Kent is offering a solution that will help reduce the 6.4m tonnes of edible food wasted each year.  Food Loop is the first food waste app that links business to business, introducing suppliers of surplus food across the food chain – growers, producers, retail and hospitality, to takers – businesses using surplus food for their own product, or charities and community initiatives.  Businesses which have pledge support include Berry Gardens, AC Hulme, Simply Ice Cream, and Macknade.

THE GWCT HAS BEEN AWARDED A GRANT OF £247,900 FROM THE GOVERNMENT’S GREEN RECOVERY CHALLENGE FUND, reports the GWCT.  The GWCT’s Merlin Magic project is one of ninety nature projects across England that have received funding.  The grant will enable work to be carried out on over 600 sites across the country, and will lead to almost a million trees being planted.  The Merlin Magic project is focusing on the iconic merlin, a distinctive small falcon breeding on England’s moorlands.

A SCOTTISH BERRY SUPPLIER IS TO ELIMINATE OVER 150 TONNES OF SINGLE USE PLASTIC A YEAR, reports Farming UK.  Angus Soft Fruits, which consists of 18 growers, will become the first in the country to switch to punnets made from 100% recycled materials.  It has successfully developed a punnet that is both fully recyclable and made from 100% recycled rPET.  Last year Angus Soft Fruits produced enough berries to fill over 42m plastic punnets.

OVER HALF OF SMALL AND LOCAL ABATTOIRS EXPECT TO CLOSE WITHIN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS, reports Farming UK.  The National Craft Butchers surveyed small and local abattoirs throughout England, Scotland and Wales earlier this year.  It highlighted the importance of the local abattoir network to farmers and the challenges it currently faces, including increased regulation, lack of training and loss of income.  Of the abattoirs surveyed, 70% of owners are over 51, and 59% expect to close the business within the next 5 years if action is not taken.



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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