11th February 2022


Rural Rap

A PIONEERING APP TO SLASH FOOD WASTE IS TO BE TRIALLED IN KENT, reports Kent Online.  FoodLoop is a B2B app which connects suppliers of surplus food to those in need of the produce.  It comes after an estimated 6.4m tonnes of edible food is waste in the UK each year – the equivalent of over 15bn meals.  The app is the initiative of the No Food Waste forum, set up by Produced in Kent in 2020.  After eight months of fund raising, it is to be trialled in Kent for 12 months.  It is also being trialled in Northamptonshire via its Made in Northamptonshire organisation.  As of this week, businesses, charities and community initiatives can register to participate in the trial – it is free to do so.

GUSBOURNE IS ANTICIPATING A SIZEABLE RISE IN REVENUE, reports Insider Media and Dow Jones.  In a trading update, the company said sales in 2021 were expected to be up by 95% from £2.1m to £4.1m.  The figures reflect “continuing and accelerating sales growth.”  DTC also showed a strong performance driven by online sales and cellar door operations in Kent.  Gusbourne benefitted from significant growth in UK trade sales as the sector continued to recover from Covid.
Revenues set to rise at Gusbourne | South East Business News | Insider Media

THE GOVERNMENT HAS REVEALED ITS EXIT SCHEME FOR FARMERS, reports the CLA and Farming UK.  The new scheme will provide a lump sum payment for farmers wishing to leave the industry in England.  In return for their exit payment, which could be as much as £100k, farmers will surrender their entitlements and be expected to rent or sell their land, or surrender their tenancy, to create new opportunities for new entrants and farmers wishing to expand their business.  The government has also been working with industry leaders, local councils and landowners to design a New Entrants scheme for new farmers.  Applications will open in April this year and close at the end of September with payments made from November this year.

FARMERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO APPLY FOR COUNTRYSIDE STEWARDSHIP 2023 AGREEMENTS, reports Farming UK.  Since January this year, the government has increased Countryside Stewardship rates by an average of 30%.  The agreements reward farmers for their efforts in improving the environment.  The government is hoping to encourage more applications to the scheme, which has been undersubscribed since its launch in 2015.

WATER RATES PAID BY FARMS ARE DUE TO INCREASE IN APRIL, reports Farming UK.  The majority of English farms pay out-of-contract business water rates, which will increase in April.  Ofwat, the water regulator, is allowing business water suppliers a temporary increase in out-of-contract water rates to protect the industry from the effects of Covid related increases in bad debt.  The market for water was deregulated in 2017, allowing farms to choose their water supplier.  While water prices typically rise each April in line with inflation, this year is different as a result of the decision to raise the price cap.

FARMERS WHO CONVERT TO ORGANIC WILL RECEIVE UP TO DOUBLE THE PREVIOUS RATES, reports Farming UK.  The move is part of a raft of government payment increases.  Payments for organic farming are rising by between 46% and 500% for those entering a new scheme with the Countryside Stewardship.  It comes alongside an increase in the organic market, with a 23% rise since 2019.  Organic is outperforming non-organic sales, with the market reaching a record net worth of £3.05bn and payments for managing organic farmland going up by at least 50%.  Under the new rates, converting permanent improved grassland and top fruit to organic will receive double the previous payments at £150 per hectare.
Government cash doubles for farmers switching to organic – FarmingUK News

A FARMER HAS RECEIVED A PRISON SENTENCE AFTER A MAN WAS KILLED BY CATTLE IN 2020, reports Farming UK.  The farmer, from Lancashire, has received a 12 week sentence, suspended for a year; has been fined £878; and ordered to pay £7820 in costs.  The tragedy occurred when the 83 year old man was walking with his wife along a public right of way through the farm in May 2020. The couple were accompanied by their dogs and attacked by cattle that were grazing the field with calves at foot.  The farmer was found guilty of breaching the HSE at Work Act 1974 as measures could have been taken to safeguard walkers using the path, for example by “not using that field for cattle and calves.”  The HSE Inspector said that “farmers should ensure they take all reasonably practicable precautions to protect walkers on public rights of way, especially when they are grazing cows and calves together, or bulls are present.”

THE UPDATED COUNTRYSIDE CODE INCLUDES ADVICE FOR FARMERS ON MAKING RIGHTS OF WAY MORE ACCESSIBLE FOR THE PUBLIC, reports the Countryside Alliance and Farming UK.  It advises farmers on measures they could adopt, such as adding self-closing gates instead of stiles where possible and using better signage.  Guidance on how to report anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping, littering, livestock worrying and other offences is also included.  The CLA welcomed the new guidance, saying it would “equip farmers with knowledge to smoothly manage increased public interest.”  The Countryside Alliance noted that it “puts the onus on landowners to replace stiles with gates and put more signage.  It is also important to remind visitors that … the countryside is a full-time place of work for many.”  The public code also encourages people to “be nice, say hello, and share the space.”

THOUSANDS OF FARMERS ARE PARTICIPATING IN GWCT’S BIG FARMLAND BIRD COUNT, reports Farming UK.  The scheme asks farmers to spend half an hour counting birds on their land.  The aim is to encourage land managers to support farmland birds and highlight the work already done to help reverse species decline.  The count gives a vital national snapshot of the health of the country’s birdlife.  Last year 2,500 counts were recorded across 2.5m acres.

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

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