4th February 2022


Rural Rap

NUMBERS OF FARMLAND BIRDS ESTABLISHED BY DIRECT DRILL OR MIN TILL CAN BE 1000% HIGHER THAN CONVENTIONALLY ESTABLISHED AREAS OVER WINTER, reports Farming UK.  The independently monitored research has followed two farms over three years, one of which is at East Lenham in Kent.  There the average numbers of birds recorded on the ground over the past three winters was 145% higher in fields established by direct drill / light till.  The other farm was the GWCT project farm in Loddington, where an average of 1011% more birds were recorded over the winter.  At East Lenham, numbers of all insect and seed feeding species recorded were higher on conservation agriculture plots last winter, including over 2.5x as many skylarks and double the number of meadow pipits.  Earthworm numbers also responded positively in Kent, with an average of 75% more with direct drill over conventional tillage.
Conservation agriculture systems boosts bird numbers ‘by 1000%’ – FarmingUK News

THE KCAS ARE CELEBRATING THE SUCCESS OF THE KENT FARMING CONFERENCE, reports the Kent Showground.  Nearly 100 delegates participated in the event last week, which delved into the world of sustainable farming and highlighted best regenerative practices, focusing on preserving the natural ecology for future generations.  Speaker Andy Barr, of A&A Barr Farms, drew attention to the success he has achieved in increasing yields and net profit by 17% through sustainable systems (such as direct drilling).   Speaker John Pawsey had similar insights from his Suffolk farm, revealing that he had increased average profits by £210 per ha and had reduced carbon output so much that the land now acts as a carbon sink.  James Smith of Loddington Farms discussed his methods of regenerative farming on his fruit farm enterprises.
First Kent Farming Conference a Success – Kent County Agricultural Society (kcas.org.uk)

MOST OF THE BRITISH PUBLIC THINK FARMERS HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT, reports Farming UK.  65% of consumers believe that farmers are environmentally conscious that that they care about the planet.  Regardless of dietary choice, just under half think that British farming practices have a positive impact on the environment.  Food producers are ahead of all others in the food supply chain in this regard.  With the impact of climate change leading the public agenda in recent years, consumers say they are most concerned about the impact of factories and industry, with food and farming coming fifth on the last – after air travel, waste disposal and energy production.
Majority of public think farmers care about the planet – FarmingUK News

35 CEREAL GROWERS HAVE PROVIDED OVER 4,200 HA OF FARMLAND TO HELP BOOST NATURE, reports Farming UK.  Farmers growing oats for Jordans Cereal manage 28% of their land for wildlife.  The farmers are all part of the Jordans Farm Parnership and a report looking at their progress shows that over the last year they have managed hedgerows, woodlands and waterways, as well as creating or improving ponds and field margins.  Consequently they have seen wildlife increase, with one farm sighting goshawks, stone curlews and barn owls.  Other have seen honey buzzards, otters and bullfinches return, with a greater dominance of bees and butterflies too.
Over 30 farmers help nature blossom across 28% of their land – FarmingUK News

DEFRA IS CALLING FOR LAND MANAGERS AND FARMERS TO APPLY FOR FUNDING FROM THE LANDSCAPE RECOVERY SCHEME, reports the Countryside Alliance.  This is billed as an exciting opportunity to support projects that will restore nature, reduce flood risks and boost biodiversity for wildlife and river projects.  It is open to any individuals or groups who want to come together to deliver large (500-5000ha) scale projects focusing on restoring threatened native species, and restoring England’s streams and rivers.  Applications close on 24 May 2022 and it will be competitive.  Up to 15 projects will be taken forward, with a total project development budget available of £7.5m.
Countryside Alliance – Defra Landscape Recovery scheme is open for applications (countryside-alliance.org)

THE LEVELLING UP WHITE PAPER SUGGESTS THE GOVERNMENT DOESN’T UNDERSTAND RURAL NEEDS, argues the CLA.  The UK government has failed to deliver a plan to create jobs, strengthen communities and share prosperity in the countryside, says the CLA in response to the Levelling Up white paper.  The cross-government missions billed in the plan including increasing pay, employment and productivity in all areas of the UK.  However, the rural economy, which is 18% less productive than the national average, misses out.  “Rural voters put their faith in this government,” writes the CLA, “but this white paper suggests that government doesn’t understand them, their needs or their aspirations.”
Government’s levelling up plans “fail to deliver for rural communities” • CLA

RABI RACEDAY & LUNCH - Monday 28th February 2022

RABI request the pleasure of your company at the race day and lunch, kindly sponsored by Betty Chantler. 

Gates open at 11.20am, with lunch served at 12.15pm in the track side marquee. 

Tickets £70 each (tables of 8, 10 or 12) to include entrance, welcome glass of English sparkling wine, lunch, afternoon tea, car parking and race card

NB This year’s bookings are being taken directly by the racecourse.  To book, visit plumptonracecourse.co.uk and select “Buy Tickets.”  From the fistures section, select Monday 28 February – RABI Raceday.  Scroll down to the “Add a Voucher Code” and enter RABI2022.  This will bring up the option to purchase tickets for £70.  Any questions should be directed to Molly Taylor or Rebecca Warnett at Plumpton on 01273 890 383 or at racing@plumptonracecourse.co.uk

AONB KENT DOWNS : Grants for farmers, land managers and landowners

Applications are now open for the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme (link)

The three year scheme aims to fund outcomes for People, Place, Climate and Nature in the Kent Downs.  It is possible to apply for more than one year.  Applications can range from £250k, to no miminum.  Funding can be up to 100%, but value for money is part of the assessment criteria.

Applicants will be supported to carry out projects that:

  • Provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and cultural heritage
  • Support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses
  • Mitigate the impacts of climate change
  • Support nature recovery


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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