5th November 2021


Rural Rap

FRIDAYS, THE EGG PACKING FIRM, HAS SUFFERED LOSSES FOR THE SECOND YEAR RUNNING, reports Farming UK.  The Kent-based business blamed the pandemic for the losses.  The foodservice industry was hit particularly badly by lockdowns and this has impacted business.  Fridays lose £198,000 before tax in 2020.  This is a second annual loss, although much lower than the £2.6m loss in the same period the previous year.  Despite the losses, Fridays said that business is looking up, with an improved cash position and strong reserves maintained by constraining capex.

CONTROVERSIAL PLANS TO BUILD 1,250 HOMES IN A RAINHAM ORCHARD HAVE BEEN REJECTED, reports the Kent Messenger and BBC Kent.  The plans were subject to a huge campaign effort from those wanting to protect the farmland.  The application, submitted by Goatham, were originally rejected in June 2020 and have now been turned down again after an appeal.  The proposals also included a primary school, a 60-bed extra care facility, an 80-bed care home and a village hall.  The Planning Inspectorate said the proposal would “harm the character and appearance” of the local countryside.

SEQUESTERED CARBON IS TOO IMPORTANT FOR FARMERS TO SELL IT CHEAPLY OR EASILY, reports Farming UK.  The rise in carbon trading schemes has accelerated at pace as pressure mounts on businesses to reduce their carbon footprint, and farmers look to capitalise on their assets before losing subsidies.  However, sequestered carbon is too important for farmers to sell it hastily as it’s likely it will matter more to keep it for their own businesses.  Not only is the value likely to increase in coming years, signing up to selling it might unwittingly tie farmers in to restrictive agreements.

THE GOVERNMENT MAY INTRODUCE A TAX ON MEAT AND DAIRY, reports Farming UK.  The Defra secretary said the UK must “move into the realms of things like carbon taxes” when EU subsidies are phased out.  He noted that the government was already writing up a new tax system for parts of the UK food sector, particularly for those that have the most impact on the climate.  The NFU said that a meat tax “would put farmers out of business, particularly as the government signed post-Brexit trade deals with major agricultural producers” of whom we did not have the same expectations.  Research suggests that such a tax would cost the economy £242m a year and would force grazing livestock farms out of the industry, even when grassland is the most sensible land use at that particular location.

AN AIPZ HAS BEEN DECLARED ACROSS THE WHOLE OF BRITAIN AFTER DETECTION OF BIRD FLU, reports Farming UK.  Avian flu has been detected in captive birds at premises in Wales, England and Scotland, and also in wild birds at multiple sites across the country.  Keepers with over 500 birds now need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites, and backyard owners of smaller numbers of poultry must take steps to limit the risk.

THE UK EXPORTED £19M OF RED MEAT TO THE US IN THE FIRST 8 MONTHS OF THE YEAR, reports Farming UK.  1,211 tonnes of beef was exported between January and August, making a successful first year since the ban on UK beef was lifted.  Market access was granted in March 2020, following the US’s longstanding ban on UK beef, introduced following the BSE outbreak in 1996.

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

To receive the Rural Rap direct to your inbox please contact info@ruralplc.com