KENT POLICE ARE SEEKING INFORMATION AFTER THE DELIBERATE SLAUGHTER OF A SHEEP, reports Farming UK and Kent Police.The deceased ewe, which was in lamb, was discovered by a farmer in a field of Betsham Road at around 7am last Sunday. Police believe the sheep was killed deliberately after 6.45pm the previous evening. A lamb was also reported stolen from the field earlier in the week. The police are satisfied that the injuries sustained could not have been caused by another animal. Anyone with information should contact 01474 366 149 quoting 46/55897/20 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously.
CHAPEL DOWN HAS TOASTED A SURGE IN SUPERMARKET SALES DUE TO STOCKPILING, reports City AM, among other publications. The British beer and wine producer said that supermarket and off licence sales had grown “substantially,” and that online transactions have also increased after the government ordered the closure of pubs and hospitality venues. Chapel Down said that if current sales continue, it will “more than make up” for the loss of sales to pubs and other venues, and will also strengthen the brand’s market share. The company has temporarily closed its brewery in Ashford and winery in Tenterden to the public, and has stopped brewing beer and cider until the pub trade returns to normality. The company has sufficient stocks to supply customers for up to six months.
SHEPHERD NEAME HAS TEAMED UP WITH COPPER RIVET DISTILLERY TO CREATE A HAND SANTISER FOR EMERGENCY SERVICES STAFF, reports Shepherd Neame, among others. The Faversham-based brewery began brewing “clean beer” for the initiative last Tuesday. This is at least 10% ABV and no hops will be used to ensure that it is aroma and flavour-free. The brew is then road tinkered to the Copper Rivet Distillery in Chatham Maritime, where it will be used as a feed stock for their distilling alcohol to create the sanitiser. It is hoped that the first consignment will be available by today, and will – initially – be for the emergency services and public authorities only, including a large quantity for the Met Police. shepherdneame.co.uk/covid-19-updates/kent-brewery-teams-kent-distillery-create-alcohol-hand-sanitiser-our-emergency
SOME INDUSTRIES ARE LAUNCHING HUGE RECRUITMENT DRIVES TO ENLIST AN ARMY OF WORKERS TO MEET CURRENT CHALLENGES, reports the Kent Messenger. While the economic news relating to the pandemic has been very dark for many sectors, the food and farming industry are desperate for workers. The government’s job vacancy site currently lists over 2,700 open roles in Kent, with over 1,100 posted in the last fortnight. Amid fears that the coming fruit harvest could be impacted by the crisis, British Summer Fruits has launched a recruitment website for those seeking work, and Winterwood Farms, which packs produce near Maidstone, is also encouraging those seeking work to get in touch. kentonline.co.uk/maidstone/news/jobs-created-amid-economic-turmoil-224908/
FARMS ARE ADAPTING TO A NEW WAY OF LIFE AS THEY COPE WITH INCREASING DEMAND FOR FOOD, LABOUR CHALLENGES, AND CHANGES TO ROUTES TO MARKET, reports the Kent Messenger. As the traditional routes to market go by the wayside – Winterdale Cheesemakers’ London market has stopped completely for example – farms are having to find new ways to sell their produce. This includes shops or stalls on the farm, opening existing shops for longer hours, advertising services to locals, home delivery schemes, supplying to “produce box” delivery companies etc. However, prices are increasingly volatile – lamb prices have fallen from £135 to £80 in a fortnight. Farmers are also noticing a major shift in public perception, with farmers and lorry drivers going from “scum of the earth” to heroes. AC Goatham is keen to reassure that they have plenty of stock in store, and by being in control of the whole supply chain, can have confidence in its ability to deliver. Labour remains a major concern for growers across the county, vital farm-to-fork infrastructure must remain operational, and it is critical to look out for the mental wellbeing of all farmers too, says thy NFU.
SHIPBOURNE FARMERS’ MARKET IS ADAPTING BY BECOMING A DRIVE-THRU MARKET. In order to protect stallholders, organisers and customers, produce can now only be pre-ordered. The market will be held at Shipbourne Village Hall. The market has developed an online ordering system. Each producer will then contact customers to request payment. Locals can request delivery, otherwise customers who are collecting are advised to attend the village hall where a marshal will put the shopping straight into the boot of the car. New products from sellers include an alcohol-based hand sanitiser from Greensand Ridge distillery, a vegetable box from Season by Nature, scotch eggs and pork pies from Naked and Ready and fish from Rye’s Arcade Fisheries. /march-shipbourne-farmers-market-4085545?e=7df6cce360
THE UK FACES A SHORTAGE OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLE PICKERS THIS YEAR, writes the BBC. One farmer however reported that he has had enquiries from about 80 people, including the local circus! “I don’t know if it’s the jugglers and clowns,” said Mr Bowyer, “but they’ve got staff who can help us.” It is often difficult for local people to fill the roles as it is usually about two months of work with nothing else for the rest of the year. But the combination of closed borders and UK unemployment makes it critical to attract the British workforce. The charity Concordia, which usually helps young people gain international experience, has already signed up 14,000 to its Feed the Nation scheme – about 70% of whom have never worked on a farm before. Up to 6,000 people are needed from mid-April to pick asparagus and 7,000 to pick lettuce. From May that rises to 29,000 to pick strawberries, and later in the year tens of thousands will be needed to harvest apples, pears and other fruit and veg. bbc.co.uk/news/business-52109833
THE COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE IS BACKING CALLS FOR A “LAND ARMY” TO HELP FEED THE NATION DURING THE ONGOING CRISIS, reports the Countryside Alliance. Farmers and producers need British workers to help bring home the harvest as travel restrictions and tighter border controls have a major impact on the overseas workforce. The available positions are paid and could provide an income for students, job seekers and anyone who has been laid off work due to the virus – such as those working in hospitality or catering. countryside-alliance.org/news/2020/3/ca-calls-on-you-to-join-the-land-army
A NEW SCHEME COULD SEE THOUSANDS OF BRITISH PEOPLE HELPING TO FEED THE NATION BY WORKING ON UK FARMS, reports Farmers Weekly. Farm leaders and Defra officials are discussing a new system that would match interested workers with employers, as well as other incentives aimed at encouraging students and British workers to apply for jobs on the land. The latest talks saw the NFU President meet with George Eustice to discuss “innovative and creative” solutions to the problem. Other industry leaders were also involved. George Eustice also paid tribute to everyone working around the clock to keep the nation fed, and said of farmers: “you are the hidden heroes, and the country is grateful for all that you have done.” The government is considering ways to ensure farmers have the necessary support, but in the meantime as many people as possible should sign up via the industry’s recruitment efforts. fwi.co.uk/business/business-management/coronavirus-top-level-talks-to-secure-farm-workforce
THE FARMING HELP CHARITIES ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO SUPPORT THE FARMING COMMUNITY THROUGH THE PANDEMIC. 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 farminghelp.co.uk.
THE PRINCE’S COUNTRYSIDE FUND HAS MADE £100K AVAILABLE FOR GROUPS SUPPORTING FARMERS THROUGH THE VIRUS, reports Farming UK. Applications are sought for funding from rural community support groups who are providing assistance to counter the effects of isolation during the pandemic. A total of £100,000 is available in the first round of funding. Support projects may include, but are not limited to, volunteer and fuel costs for grocery and prescription delivery, costs associated with emergency support, rural foodbanks or rural delivery services. Applications close on Wednesday 15th April. The fund is not for individuals or private farm businesses, and is not aimed at funding capital costs. farminguk.com/news/-100k-fund-to-help-farming-community-support-groups_55347.html
MILLIONS OF PLANTS, SHRUBS AND TREES COULD BE BINNED IN THE COMING WEEKS, MEANING RUIN FOR UK GROWERS, reports the BBC. The closure of 2,000 garden centres and nurseries mean makers of “ornamental horticulture” have no outlet for their plants. The HTA is asking the government for financial assistance of up to £250m to help the industry avoid collapse, amid fears that a third of producers could go bust. Growers will have spent three or four months building up their supplies, which they now can’t sell – and all of this stock is perishable. The value of stock during this key trading period is typically three to four times the year-end value of most businesses, and is the time period in which they are most extended financially. There is not enough delivery capacity to make even a dent in the stranded inventory, meaning online sales are not the answer.
THE COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE HAS LAUNCHED A VIRTUAL “COUNTRYSIDE HUB,” reports Farming UK. The service will listen to concerns and act where necessary to ensure the countryside and its communities remain safe and resilient during the spread of the virus. The hub offers signposting to essential information, such as news on the latest government announcements. It also outlines support for small firms, key telephone numbers, call-outs for help from official bodies, as well as guidance on rural activities. The hub will also be organising events such as a virtual pub night and online chats. farminguk.com/news/coronavirus-virtual-countryside-hub-to-provide-info-to-rural-firms_55307.html
OVER 1500 FARMERS ACROSS BRITAIN MADE THE 2020 BIG FARMLAND BIRD COUNT THE BIGGEST SINCE ITS LAUNCH, reports the CLA, Farming UK and Farmers Weekly, among others. Farmers battled through the worst winter flooding in recent years to show they are at the frontline of its conservation efforts. They recorded over 120 species across 1.4m acres in the GWCT initiative this February. An impressive 25 red-listed species were recorded, with nine feature in the 25 most commonly seen species. Over 67,000 fieldfares, starlings, linnets and lapwings were spotted – equivalent to 24% of all species spotted. The most abundant species were woodpigeons, starlings, lapwings, black-headed gulls and rooks.
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
Thousands of temporary workers are needed on British farms to help feed the nation during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jobs are available on fruit farms, arable farms, livestock farms and in pack houses – with workers also needed to fill other vacancies.
Follow @Kentslandarmy on Facebook for specific opportunities, or visit:
To apply, please visit: Hops Labour Solutions: https://hopslaboursolutions.com/
Concordia: www.concordiavolunteers.org.uk / 01273 422 218
Pro-Force Recruitment: https://pro-force.co.uk/ / 0333 335 6262
CDS Labour: http://cdslabour.co.uk/
British Summer Fruits: www.britishsummerfruits.co.uk/jobs / 020 7575 7654
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