18th October 2019


Rural Rap

Week of action to tackle rural crime nets results
2020 Nuffield Farming Scholars Announced

Food and farming leaders welcome Johnson’s Brexit deal with the EU
£5bn no-deal meat exports status secured
Brexit helpline launched for organic farmers

UK Government launches new Environment Bill

Lidl invests £15bn in British farmer suppliers

KENT’S RURAL TASK FORCE DEALT WITH ANIMAL CRUELTY, HARE COURSING AND FLY TIPPING, AMONG OTHER ISSUES, DURING ITS RURAL CRIME WEEK, reports Kent Police.  The rural crime week ran from 6th October to 13th October, and throughout the week officers teamed up with local councils to target fly tippers and the RSPCA to conduct warrants and help them gather evidence into animal cruelty offences.  Numerous vehicles were stopped in connection with waste carrying offences.  One vehicle was stopped in Doddington, near Sittingbourne, and items connected with poaching were seized.  Badger cruelty resulted in three warrants across the county, with dogs seized from addresses in Ashford, Maidstone and New Romney.  Hare coursing was stopped in Chillenden, and stolen vehicles were returned to their owners. Kent Police

TWO OF THIS YEAR’S NUFFIELD AGRICULTURAL SCHOLARS ARE FROM KENT, reports Farming UK.  David Butler and Nicola Harrison are among the nineteen scholars who come from across the UK agriculture, food and rural industries and who will take their agricultural studies abroad for a year.  Each year the scholarships are awarded to people between the ages of 22 and 45.  The programme offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to connect with and learn from the best of the international food and farming community.  It is hoped that the knowledge and experiences the scholars bring back to the UK will be of value to the farming industry.  Farming UK

BORIS JOHNSON SAYS HE HAS SECURED A “GREAT NEW DEAL” WITH THE EU, reports Farming UK and the Farmers Guardian, among many other outlets.  It comes as the UK is due to leave the bloc in a fortnight’s time.  The deal must now be approved by both the UK and EU parliaments.  The CLA said that the news will be “warmly welcomed” by farmers and rural businesses, many of who were “fearing the consequences” of a no-deal scenario.  The DFD echoed this sentiment, and the NFU said it was “pleased” to see negotiators have come to an agreement.  It did however say that the deal does not determine the long-term future of the relationship.  Farmers Guardian  Farming UK

EU MEMBER STATES HAVE AGREED THE UK’S LISTED STATUS TO EXPORT LIVE ANIMALS AND ANIMAL PRODUCTS AS A THIRD COUNTRY CAN CONTINUE IN THE EVENT OF A NO-DELA BREXIT, reports Farmers Weekly.  The EU confirmed the acceptance last Friday after it met the health and biosecurity assurances required for a third country.  With listed status now confirmed, businesses exporting animals and animal products to the EU – business worth over £5bn p.a. – will still need to meet new requirements, such as border inspections.  Guidance for animal importers and exporters is available on gov.uk.  Farmers Weekly

THE SOIL ASSOCIATION HAS LAUNCHED A BREXIT READINESS SUPPORT SERVICE TO HELP ORGANIC BUSINESSES PREPARE FOR A NO-DEAL BREXIT, reports Farming UK.  The charity’s service consists of a support phone line, email address and online chat system.  It aims to answer questions and provide information to the sector, including requirements needed for organic farmers to prepare for Brexit.  The service is open to all organic businesses in the UK, not just those certified by Soil Association Certification.  Funding for the hotline comes from the government’s “Brexit Readiness Fund,” set up to help sectors most at risk from a no-deal.  Farming UK

THE GOVERNMENT HAS LAUNCHED A NEW ENVIRONMENT BILL, reports the Countryside Alliance.  The purpose of the bill is to “transform our domestic environmental governance based on environmental principles; codify a comprehensive framework for legally binding targets; establish a new Office for Environmental Protection; increase local powers to tackle sources of air pollution; improve biodiversity by working with developers; extend producer responsibility; ensure a consistent approach to recycling; introduce charges for specific single use plastic items; and secure long-term, resilient water and waste water services.”  The Countryside Alliance welcomes much of the bill, not least the legislation to tackle fly-tipping.  However, there remain concerns that the new OEP will not have the independence to scrutinise the government or have adequate powers of enforcement.  Countryside Alliance

LIDL WILL INVEST A RECORD £15BN IN ITS BRITISH FARMER SUPPLIERS OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS, reports Farming UK.  In a series of pledges announced this week, the retailer will increase sales of British sourced fresh meat, poultry and fresh produce by over 10% in the next year.  Longer term contracts have also been announced in a move to give suppliers more certainty, and a young farmers programme has been designed to support new talent.  The investment follows the supermarket’s commitment to source 100% of its listed fresh poultry from UK farms.  Lidl has a market share of 6% and is continuing with its expansion plans, which will see the supermarket open 50-60 new stores across 2019.  Farming UK



In September, the Kent and South London area as a whole received 97% of its Long Term Average rainfall, with totals ranging from above normal in the west to normal in the east.  The Soil Moisture Deficits ended the month slightly higher than the Long Term Average.  The rate of groundwater recession slowed in September and groundwater levels ended the month between normal and below normal in the east, and below normal to notably low in the west.  The rainfall events between 23rd and 30th accounted for approximately 82% of the month’s rain.  Overall the summer period (Apr to Sept incl) received 92% of the LTA.

Taken from the Environment Agency’s Monthly Situation Report for the Kent and South London Area.
Contact: Groundwater & Hydrology Team – 03708 506 506


FCN is a voluntary organisation supporting farmers and their families through difficult times.  With over 400 volunteers across the country, its confidential helpline is open every day from 7am to 11pm.

The charity is strengthening its local volunteer groups in response to a growing need for support as a result of ever-increasing challenges facing those who work in the sector.

If you have an understanding of the farming industry, a genuine interest in the wellbeing of those who work in it, and are seeking a rewarding voluntary role, please get in touch.

FCN KENT is seeking a Group Co-Ordinator, a Group Chairperson, and other volunteers.

For further information, please contact:

Mark Thomas, Regional Director (South), at mark@fcn.org.uk on 07815 082 326.



The Old Chalk New Downs project is offering grants for capital work proposals that contribute to securing habitat connectivity and improving access across the project area, through the enhancement and management of chalk grassland, hedges and ponds.

If you have a project idea, please contact William Moreno at: william.moreno@kent.gov.uk, call 03000 410 348, or visit www.oldchalknewdowns.org.uk.

Dates for your diary

19th & 20th October : Perry Court Apple Fayre
Raising money for the Pilgrims Hospice

Morris dancers, shire horses, vintage engines and ploughing demonstrations will feature at this weekend’s Perry Court Apple Fayre.  As well as farm walks and all the animals to meet.  In the marquee there will be country crafts including spinning and woodwork, farm refreshments, and apple tasting.  The Apple Pie Competition will be judged at 10am on Saturday, with entries to be in by 9.30am.  The grand finale on Sunday is the Auction at 3pm, with show cases of fruit, weekends in Cornwall and hand spinning lessons on offer, among many other lots.
Perry Court Farm, Canterbury Road, Ashford TN25 4ES
10am – 5pm, Saturday and Sunday
For further information: perrycourt.farm/apple-fayre

16th November : Wine Garden of England Festival
Sip, share and discover the stories behind some of England’s finest wines at this exclusive festival at Rochester Cathedral, back for its second year.  The Wine Garden of England is made up of seven Kent wine producers: Biddenden, Chapel Down, Domain Evremond, Gusbourne, Hush Heath, Simpsons’ Wine Estate and Squerryes.  During the festival, you will have the chance to meet expert winemakers, sampleup to 30 premium wines from Kent and learn more about our very own wine pioneers.
Rochester Cathedral, Rochester, ME1 1SX
Multiple times available; tickets £35 each
To book a ticket, please visit: winegardenofengland.co.uk/events/

3rd December : Carols at Christmas
Raising money for R.A.B.I.  and FCN

For children and adults of all ages, in the cattle ring at Ashford market.  Music and singing, nativity play with real animals and real smells, free mulled wine and mince pies.  Raffle for a Christmas hamper, donated by Perry Court Farm Shop.  Courtesy of Hobbs Parker.
The Cattle Ring, Ashford Market, Kent TN24 0HB
Entry is completely free, dress warmly.
For further information: Richard Beaugie on 01233 732 580 or randjbeaugie@gmail.com

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