1st November 2019


Rural Rap
SALES OF CHAPEL DOWN’S SPARKLING KENT WINES ARE SOARING IN THE US, reports the Kent Messenger.  The Tenterden-based grape-grower has launched its latest premium bottle across the pond  and says that in the three years it has marketed its products in the US in premium restaurants, bars and hotels, sales continue to rise by 50%.  It has high hopes for its Chapel Down Three Graces, a vintage sparkling wine which will retail in the US for over £50.  Chapel Down is eyeing up yet further potential in the states, which is now the number one export market for champagne. Kent Online

2019 HAS PROVEN TO BE AN EXCELLENT HARVEST FOR BIDDENDEN VINEYARDS, reports Produced in Kent.  With some top quality juice now in the tanks, picking began on 12th September and finished on 22nd October, about 7-10 days earlier than last year.  This is the third consecutive year of high quality crop, with all varieties showing good colour and ripening well.   Produced in Kent

EVERY YEAR AROUND 15M PERFECTLY GOOD PUMPKINS ARE THROWN AWAY AFTER HALLOWEEN, reports the BBC.  This 90 second video gives 5 good ideas of what to do with them.  15m pumpkins would make enough soup for every person in Britain.  Use the flesh for meals such as risotto; use it as a face mask; use the base as a bird feeder; cut into chunks and leave it out for rabbits and squirrels; or add it to the compost heap.   BBC.co.uk/news

THE VAST MAJORITY OF CONSUMERS THINK IMPORTED FOOD SHOULD MEET BRITISH PRODUCTION STANDARDS, reports Farming UK.  New research shows that 84% of the public believe that imports should match British food production standards.  Just 16% would buy food they know is produced to lower welfare standards if it was cheaper than food produced to a high standard.  This was presented as a “stark reminder” to the government that the public values British farming.  BGAJ President said “there will always be countries able to produce cheaper food than Britain but it always comes at a cost.  It could be the safety of the good, the farmer, an animal or the environment.”  British standards of food and farming are seen as among the best in the world due to decades of progression in the areas that matter most to consumers.  Farming UK

FARMERS LOOKING TO RENOVATE THEIR BUILDINGS ARE REMINDED TO BE AWARE OF BATS, reports Farming UK.  Bats are an increasing problem when it comes to undertaking renovation works.  Over the winter months bats hibernate and rural buildings, in particular, present an ideal warm roosting site for female bats to rear their young.  Special measures must be implemented to adhere to ecological legislation and project design has to be considered carefully where bats have been found to be occupying a building.   Farming UK

AT THIS TIME OF YEAR HEDGEHOGS SHOULD BE PREPARING FOR HIBERNATION, reports the Times.  Instead, many are unready for their long winter fast.  Late litters struggle to survive and have to scramble to accrue sufficient fat reserves to see them through the depths of winter before they can re-emerge in the spring.  Across the UK numbers have fallen by 50% since the turn of the century.  In the 1950s it is believed there were over 30m hedgehogs in Britain, but now there are fewer than 500,000.  Thanks to dedicated enthusiasts, the hedgehog’s difficulties are at least better publicised.  Charities do admirable work in encouraging the public to report sightings and advising homeowners on how they may create hedgehog-friendly gardens.  The Times

FARMERS ARE AT RISK OF PAYING MORE IHT THAN THEY NEED TO BY FAILING TO PUT THEIR AFFAIRS IN ORDER, reports Farmers Weekly.  HMRC data shows that IHT receipts earned the treasury £5.4bn in 2018/19, an increase of £166m on the previous year.  Almost 75% of this came from estates worth over £1m, with liable estates paying £179k on average.  Farming families who might be affected should seek out expert advice well in advance to help mitigate IHT bills.   Farmers Weekl


FCN is a voluntary organisation supporting farmers and their families through difficult times.  With over 400 volunteers across the country, its confidential helpline is open every day from 7am to 11pm.

The charity is strengthening its local volunteer groups in response to a growing need for support as a result of ever-increasing challenges facing those who work in the sector.

If you have an understanding of the farming industry, a genuine interest in the wellbeing of those who work in it, and are seeking a rewarding voluntary role, please get in touch.

FCN KENT is seeking a Group Co-Ordinator, a Group Chairperson, and other volunteers.

For further information, please contact:

Mark Thomas, Regional Director (South), at mark@fcn.org.uk on 07815 082 326.



The Old Chalk New Downs project is offering grants for capital work proposals that contribute to securing habitat connectivity and improving access across the project area, through the enhancement and management of chalk grassland, hedges and ponds.

If you have a project idea, please contact William Moreno at: william.moreno@kent.gov.uk, call 03000 410 348, or visit www.oldchalknewdowns.org.uk.

Dates for your diary

16th November : Wine Garden of England Festival
Sip, share and discover the stories behind some of England’s finest wines at this exclusive festival at Rochester Cathedral, back for its second year.  The Wine Garden of England is made up of seven Kent wine producers: Biddenden, Chapel Down, Domain Evremond, Gusbourne, Hush Heath, Simpsons’ Wine Estate and Squerryes.  During the festival, you will have the chance to meet expert winemakers, sampleup to 30 premium wines from Kent and learn more about our very own wine pioneers.
Rochester Cathedral, Rochester, ME1 1SX
Multiple times available; tickets £35 each
To book a ticket, please visit: winegardenofengland.co.uk/events/

3rd December : Carols at Christmas
Raising money for R.A.B.I.  and FCN

For children and adults of all ages, in the cattle ring at Ashford market.  Music and singing, nativity play with real animals and real smells, free mulled wine and mince pies.  Raffle for a Christmas hamper, donated by Perry Court Farm Shop.  Courtesy of Hobbs Parker.
The Cattle Ring, Ashford Market, Kent TN24 0HB
Entry is completely free, dress warmly.
For further information: Richard Beaugie on 01233 732 580 or randjbeaugie@gmail.com

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