7th August 2020


Rural Rap

KENT IS A HOTSPOT FOR RURAL CRIME, reports the Kent Messenger.  Rural crime cost Kent’s landowners £1.8m in 2019, according to NFU Mutual, making it the fifth worst-affected part of the country.  But despite that, the figure was actually 31.3% lower than the previous year, bucking the national trend.  Across the UK, the cost of rural crime is at its highest level in eight years, rising 8.8% to a total of £54.3m.  For the second year in a row, gangs targeting high value tractors, quad bikes and other farm vehicles account for an almost 25% rise in the cost of agricultural vehicles stolen, bringing it to £9.3m.  The cost of the theft of livestock also increased in 2019, up by 9% to £3m.  NFU Mutual Kent suggested that, while rural theft fell overall during the early part of lockdown, a number of national trends include a spike in livestock rustling and the targeting of GPS equipment.  kentonline.co.uk/kent/news/gangs-of-sheep-rustlers-hit-kents-farmers-hard-231512/

A FARMER AND HIS WORKERS BATTLED DESPERATELY TO STOP A FIELD FIRE SPREADING TO COTTAGES BEFORE FIREFIGHTERS ARRIVED, reports the Kent Messenger.  Farm vehicles raced to intercept the blaze, which eventually spread to cover an area of 900m2 in a field near Gillingham.  Farmer Kevin Attwood and his staff were cutting corn when they realised a field they had cut to the north was on fire.  The worst damage was to the adjoining properties.  A JCB, tractors and a cultivator were used to try to stop the blaze.  Unfortunately however the wind took the fire straight to the cottages.   The fire brigade arrived quickly and the main structure of the buildings were undamaged.  However, the family in one of the cottages is “calling for answers.”  Mr Attwood described it as a “chastening experience.” kentonline.co.uk/medway/news/farm-workers-battle-to-stop-field-fire-231362/

HOME BUYERS CURRENTLY LIVING IN MAJOR CITIES ARE PLANNING THEIR ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY, reports Kent Online.  Rightmove has seen an uplift in city dwellers looking to move to villages, with the number of buying enquiries from people living in 10 major cities increasing by 78% year on year.  Enquiries about village homes have gone up 126%, compared to a 68% uplift in those enquiring about towns.  The number of enquiries from Liverpool residents rose 275%!  Buyers still want to be in commuting distance to their current place of work, suggesting that families are being drawn towards a quieter way of life.  The most popular reasons for relocation include a bigger garden, being closer to essential services, living close to exercise, closer to relatives and a stronger local community. kentonline.co.uk/news/national/escape-to-the-country-surge-in-city-dwellers-inquiring-about-homes-in-villages-9518/

MPs HAVE CALLED FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF A MINISTER FOR FOOD SECURITY, reports the Farmers Guardian.  Members of the EFRA Select Committee have warned that there is a risk that food insecurity could “fall between the cracks” because responsibility for food was split across several Government departments with no clear lead.  The new report, Covid-19 and Food Supply, reads “we consider Defra has made a good effort to tackle the issue, but it alone cannot tackle the causes of and solutions for food insecurity.”

CONSUMER SPENDING ON LAMB PRODUCTS GREW 19.2% THIS SPRING, reports Farming UK.  Compared to the same period last year, sales were up to £140m, with high street butchers seeing a 45.5% increase in fresh lamb sales.  The figures also show strong retail performance for the independent butcher shop sector since the start of lockdown and social distancing.  The figures suggest some people are buying lamb for the first time, rather than just existing consumers buying more.  Households with children saw a particularly significant increase of 25.7%.   farminguk.com/news/boost-in-retail-sales-of-fresh-lamb-in-britain_56249.html

#FARM24 TRENDED AT NUMBER 1 ON SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS YESTERDAY, reports the Farmers Guardian.  #Farm24, the campaign to boost public awareness of the work done by farmers, was trending at number 1 on Twitter yesterday as thousands of farmers took the platform by storm.  The annual event, supported by Morrisons, shows what a typical day in farming looks like.  By 7am, #Farm24 was trending.  The campaign aims to educate consumers about food production and the work farmers do to keep the nation fed.  In 2019, the campaign reached an audience of over 160m via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and welcomed support from the Prime Minister, celebrity chefs, sporting stars and leading conservationists.    fginsight.com/news/farm24-trends-at-number-1-on-social-media–111033     fginsight.com/24hoursinfarming/


KCC is seeking your views on spending priorities and the approach we should take to help us amend the 2020-21 budget.  The council is amending the budget due to additional spending and loss of income as a result of the pandemic. 
Responses will be considered by councillors at the full County Council meeting in September 2020. 
To contribute, please visit www.kent.gov.uk/budget 


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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