6th June 2022


Rural Rap

KENT IS ONE OF THE MOST WATER-STRESSED AREAS IN THE UK, reports Produced in Kent.  With up to 30% less summer rainfall and up to 20% more winter rainfall expected within 20 years, the reality of drought and extreme weather events such as flash flooding will hit hard.  The South East Rivers Trust, in collaboration with others, is working with growers to provide practical support to become more water-resilient.  The HWH project offers free farm visits to help identify ways to improve water stewardship.  After a visit, growers will receive recommendations for measures to improve water resilience.  SERT can then help to deliver these improvements and to secure funding to make it happen.

GRANTS WORTH UP TO £100K HAVE BEEN ISSUED TO HELP DEVELOP NATURE PROJECTS, reports Farming UK.  The funding will help to develop 50 projects so that they can demonstrate a return on that investment but capturing the value of carbon, water quality and biodiversity provided by natural assets such as woodlands, peatlands and rivers.  The second round of the NEIRF will enable revenue to be generated through the sale of carbon storage, improvements in biodiversity, natural flood management benefits and reduced water treatment costs.  The government has set a target to stimulate at least 500m of private investment per year by 2027.  Beneficiary groups include the Soil Association, The Lapwing Estate Limited and the National Trust.

HALF OF UK FOOD GROWERS AND MANUFACTURERS HAVE RATIONALISED OR REDUCED THEIR OUTPUT DUE TO LABOUR SHORTAGES, reports Farming UK.  The May 2022 Food Labour Market Survey found that 49% of growers and food manufacturers have cut down on their output due to a lack of workforce.  77% are experiencing shortages of lower and unskilled workers, with 45% stating that these shortages are chronic.  The ALP chief executive said that the UK’s food and farming workforce was “often taken for granted; that is until the supermarket shelves run empty.”

WHEN THE QUEEN ACCEDED TO THE THRONE, THE BRITISH PEOPLE WERE STILL SUBJECT TO RATIONING, writes Farming UK.  Then, farmland values stood at £78/acre, equivalent to £1,700/acre in real terms.  Since then, land values have rocketed to £7,800/acre; the 1970s saw the wheat price rise fourfold to £105/tonne by 1980.  By 2003, the relationship between values and productivity had begun to weaken, as lifestyle land buyers peaked at 45%.  By 2021, the amount of land publicly marketed across England was at its lowest since records began.  The uncertainties triggered by Covid, Brexit and the Ukraine war have triggered fertiliser prices at over £1,000/tonne and wheat prices of over £300/tonne.

FROM CHILDHOOD, PRINCESS ELIZABETH WAS IMMERSED IN SHOOTING SPORTS AND HAS A WELL-KNOWN AFFINITY WITH GUNDOGS, writes BASC.  The royal estates at Sandringham and Balmoral hold numerous game shoots through the season and maintain dozens of dogs.  The Sandringham kennels were established in 1879 to house up to 100 dogs.  The Queen accompanied shooting parties from a young age and, while discouraged by her father from working dogs herself, remained undeterred.  One of the Queen’s most celebrated dog was a yellow Labrador, Sandringham Sydney, but she has also bred, trained and worked cocker spaniels.  She recently donated an undisclosed sun to the Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust.

THE COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE ASKS US TO CELEBRATE THE QUEEN’S RURAL REIGN, AND HER PARTICULAR AFFINITY WITH ANIMALS.  While much of what we hear about the Queen’s hobbies is through word of mouth, we do know that she chooses to spend her holidays in two of the most rural parts of the UK, indulging her love of animals and nature.  It is also no coincidence that both Balmoral and Sandringham are great sporting estates, with some of the best shooting and fishing in the country.  She takes a keen and highly knowledgeable interest in the equestrian world, and has a passion for racing and breeding – holding the accolade of being one of the most successful owners and breeders of all time.  Although not a hunting lady herself, she has demonstrated huge support for the pursuit.   She is described as possibly one of the best dog handlers in the country, and can direct her Labrador from a distance of 800 yards, using only hand signals and whistles.

CRICKET BAT WILLOW FARM TOUR - Farming with Trees, by Kent Wildlife Trust & The Forestry Commission

Farming with trees can help diversify farm income and benefit nature.  Join us for a tour around the cricket bat willow plantation at the Olantigh Estate.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about the industry – the payment rate it can offer for often marginal riverside land, and the huge benefits for water quality and wildlife it provides over its lifetime.

Wednesday 8 June
The Olantigh Estates, Olantigh Road, Wye


For further information, and to book a place, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/farming-with-trees-cricket-bat-willow-farm-tour-tickets-334369507197

Viti-Culture - Thursday 9 June 2022

THE event for the UK Wine Industry, at the home of Viti-Culture.

This is a FREE one day event that focuses on technical developers, innovators, suppliers and services involved in Wine Production.  Visitors can tour Plumpton College’s state of the art facilities, which bring together every aspect of research, teaching and production.

Thursday 9 June
Plumpton College, Ditchling, Lewes BN7 3AE


For further information, and to book a place, please visit: https://viti-culture.com/

Kent County Show - 8, 9 & 10 July

The Kent County Show is back

9am to 5pm daily
The Kent Showground, Detling ME14 3JF

Tickets currently available online at www.kcas.org.uk

Children go free.  Well-behaved dogs on leads are welcome.

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