7th February 2020


Rural Rap

STATISTIC OF THE WEEK: Kent's Brogdale is home to the National Fruit Collection, which has over 4000 varieties of fruit and nut across 150 acres of orchard and farmland.

A CHILEAN FARMING COMPANY HAS BOUGHT TWO KENT CHERRY ORCHARDS, reports Farming UK.  The deal has been announced by major Chilean cherry producer FGA Farming, and UK fruit company Mansfields.  FGA Farming has bought two cherry orchards, and the fruit from the farms will continue to be processed at Mansfields’ Kent-based fruit facility.  The owners of FGA are two of Chile’s most respected growers, who themselves produce over 5m kg of cherries, which are sold around the world.  FGA said the acquisition will create a “cherry centre of excellence.” farminguk.com/news/chilean-firm-acquires-two-uk-cherry-farms_54923.html

A JURY HAS ACQUITTED A KENT MAN FOR HIS ROLE IN A MAJOR COUNTRYSIDE FRAUD, reports Kent Online.  Two fraudsters were found guilty of scheming to rake in almost £3m of taxpayers’ cash in an elaborate countryside scam.  The duo launched numerous counterfeit bids to net £2.7m in grant money from Defra funds that were designed to boost rural communities in Kent.  The third man, Andrew Wills, was found not guilty.  Prosecutors told how Wills’ farm won nine Rural Development Scheme handouts to carry out cold storage work on farms between 2015 and 2017.  A Defra probe showed that the two guilty parties invented bogus quotes from numerous firms at higher rates, enabling their firm to undercut the competition and win the handouts.   kentonline.co.uk/tonbridge/news/fraudsters-tried-to-rake-in-almost-3m-in-farm-scam-221407/

THE PRIME MINISTER HAS SAID THE UK WOULD NOT ACCEPT “DIMUNITION OF STANDARDS” ON FOOD AND ANIMAL WELFARE IN US TRADE TALKS, reports Farming UK.  The PM made the comments on Monday as he set out his goals for trade after Brexit.  While the UK would not accept lower standards, he criticised “America bashers” for taking a “hysterical” attitude to US food production.  UK farming industry groups fear lower quality food imports would force farmers to drop their standards in order to compete.  Johnson said that UK would be “governed by science, not mumbo-jumbo” when decided what food imports are safe for consumption.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN URGED TO WORK WITH THE VET SECTOR TO ENSURE THE UK’S WORKFORCE CAPACITY IS FILLED AND ANIMAL WELARE STANDARDS REMAIN HIGH, reports Farming UK.  Vets have raised fears that there could be a “surge in demand” on the sector’s capacity at the end of the Brexit transition period.  Concerns also focus on how the future immigration system will protect vets working in abattoirs, 95% of whom hail from outside the UK.

THE COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE HAS LAUNCHED A “COUNTRYSIDE CLEAN-UP,” reports The CA.  The 2020 litter-picking initiative is to be held over the weekend of 28th/29th March.  All members are supporters are urged to participate in one of the dedicated litter-picking sessions across the country over the two-day period, and to send photographs after the event.  countryside-alliance.org/news/2020/2/countryside-clean-up

WATER ABSTRACTION: New Authorisations Announcement

Extension to application period from 31 Dec 2019 to 30 June 2020

If you are currently abstracting for a previously exempt activity then this applies to you. 

A helpful six month extension has just been announced to the application window for previously exempt abstractions.  This will benefit trickle irrigators, wetland operators and other previously exempt abstracting business.  The New Authorisation regulations came into force on 1 January 2018, meaning that those previously exempt abstractions now require a licence. 

This is the LAST OPPORTUNITY to secure these protected rights for your abstraction and cannot be retrospectively applied after 30 June 2020. 

Apply now at: www.gov.uk/guidance/water-management-abstract-or-impound-water


7-16th February: Big Farmland Bird Count
Organised by the GWCT, the BFBC is a fantastic opportunity for farmers to unite and demonstrate the great conservation work that they do.
On any day between 7 & 16 February, spend 30 minutes recording the species and number of birds seen on one particular part of your firm – ideally somewhere with a good view of about 2ha and at first light.  Results can then be submitted submitted at https://www.bfbc.org.uk/ or sent to GWCT, Burgate Manor, Fordingbridge, Hampshire SP6 1EF.
For further information, please visit: https://www.bfbc.org.uk/

19th February: Upper Beult Farmer Cluster Meeting
The second “Upper Beult Farmer Cluster” meeting will be held at the Dering Arms in Pluckley.  The meetings aim to provide insights into the thought that needs to be given to participation in proposed new schemes.  All farmers / landowners in the Low Weald between Ashford and Headcorn are very welcome to attend.  Farmers, KWT and Southern Water are seeking to secure the all-important water resource in the River Beult catchment by working collectively.  The Cluster looks to foster farmer lead workshops, farm walks and peer support for innovative ways of reducing pesticide run off and improving yelds.
6.00pm, Wednesday 19 February
Dering Arms, Pluckley, TN27 0RR
To register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/2nd-upper-beult-farmer-cluster-meeting-topic-healthy-soils-and-wildlife-tickets-90940999979

4th March: Farm Expo
Farm Expo, organised by the Kent Agricultural Society, showcases machinery, supplies and services for the agricultural industry with trade stands, seminars and networking opportunities.  Kent’s standout agricultural event will host major national and international providers of farm machinery and services and will host seminars on the industry’s trending topics.
Trade stands can be booked until 31st January by contacting Meghan Rice-Wilson on meghan@kentshowgroumd.co.uk / 01622 633 057
The Kent Showground, Detling
To register your attendance: http://bit.ly/2LdY4l1

5th April: Romney Marsh Wools Open Day
There will be opportunity to meet the lambs, as well as to find out more and about the sheep and life on the farm.  There will be Kentish crafts, food and drink available on the day from specially selected producers, plus activities for children of all ages, including the chance to have your photo taken in a tractor.  There will be a cookery demo from Julie Friend, Master Chef 2009.  The sponsored charity will, once again, be RABI.

FREE Entry
11.00am to 3.00pm
Rushfield, Giggers Green Road, Aldington, Kent TN25 7BT

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