1st October 2021


Rural Rap

RESIDENTS HAVE VOICED THEIR OPPOSITION TO MULTI-MILLION POUND PLANS FOR A WINERY AND VISITOR CENTRE, reports the Kent Messenger.  Vineyard Farms has sought permission from Medway Council to construct the £30m project, called the Kentish Wine Vault, on land neighbouring Upper Bush in Cuxton. The company hopes to “kick start a wine revolution in England.”  A petition launched by a local resident has now attracted almost 600 signatures.  The resident believes that independent scrutiny of the plans is required as the site sits within the Kent Downs AONB and is near to two SSSIs.

THE DUCHY OF CORNWALL HAS UNVEILED PLANS TO BUILD 2,500 HOMES ON 320 ACRES OF FAVERSHAM FARMLAND, reports the Kent Messenger.  The estate, which is fronted by Prince Charles, has devised the masterplan which is based around a “simple grid of tree-lined streets which will open south from the A2 and frame a central green…the proposed new neighbourhood starts from the earth up.”  The estate is made up of 130,000 acres across the UK, the revenue of which is used to fund the public, private and charitable activities of the Duke and his children.

CONSTRUCTION HAS STARTED ON THE WORLD’S LARGEST VERTICAL FARM, reports Farming UK.  The multi-million pound farm in Gloucestershire will offer nearly 150,000sq ft of growing space and will be able to supply 1,000 tonnes of fresh produce to UK supermarkets.  Jones Food Company already has a vertical farm near Scunthorpe from which it supplies thousands of British retail stores with basil.  Rather than using sunlight, the farm uses LED light which is adjusted dependent on the growth stage and crop type.  By growing in 17 layers, each acre is 17x more productive.  It can also use no pesticides and 95% less water.

RULES AROUND GENE EDITING ARE TO BE RELAXED, reports the CLA and Farming UK.  The government has relaxed the rules so that farmers can grow more resilient and productive crops.  The move forms part of the overhaul of the UK’s post- Brexit agricultural policy.  Gene editing is a tool which makes plant breeding more precise and efficient so scientists can breed crops that are more resistant to pests and disease.  It is different from genetic modification as it does not result in the introduction of DNA from other species.

A LINCOLNSHIRE FARMER IS OFFERING PICKERS £30 AN HOUR, reports Farming UK.  TH Clements & Son, a family-owned farming business, is offering year round picked roles paying up to £30/hr – the equivalent to a £62k salary.  It comes as the growing labour crisis has resulted in empty shelves in supermarkets and, in some cases, food left on farms due to a lack of pickers or processors.

FARMERS ARE URGED TO BE VIGILANT FOR DIESEL THIEVES AS THE FUEL CRISIS CONTINUES TO IMPACT THE COUNTRY, reports Farming UK.  The government has said there are signs that the crisis, which has seen long queues outside forecourts across the UK, is stabilising.  However, farmers are urged to remain vigilant and to strengthen security in case a prolonged shortage sees fuel thieves return to the countryside.


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