11th October 2019


Rural Rap

Five Oak Green’s Burden Group acquired by London firm Caneda Foods

No let-up in net loss of UK’s nature
Farmers ‘show leadership’ in environmental work, NFU says
Video: Smithfield turned ‘plant-based’ by vegan activists
Climate change activists urged to embrace British wool

Better diet may help young adults fight mental illness

Defra minister seeks to allay Brexit concerns

Clarkson’s new farming series officially in production

ONE OF KENT’S LEADING FOOD DISTRIBUTION FIRMS HAS BEEN BOUGHT, reports Kent Online.  The Burden Group, based near Tonbridge, has been acquired by London-based Caneda Foods – a long term buy and build investor in the UK food supply market.  Burden, which also has sites in London, Fareham and Newcastle, is also the largest business operating at Smithfield Market.  The CEO of the Burden Group said that “the food market is undergoing significant and rapid change, which is increasingly challenging existing business models.”  Kent online

THE UK’S WILDLIFE CONTINUES TO DECLINE, reports the Kent Wildlife Trust.  The latest findings in the State of Nature 2019 report show that since rigorous scientific monitoring began in the 1970s, there has been a 13% decline in average abundance of wildlife studied and the declines continue unabated.  Leading professionals from more than 70 wildlife organisations have joined with government agencies for the first time, to present the clearest picture to date of the status of our species across land and sea.  41% of UK species have declined, 26% have increased and 33% have shown little change since 1970.  133 species have been lost from our shores altogether since 1500. Butterflies and moths have been particularly hard hit, and the UK’s mammals also fare badly with over 26% at risk of disappearing altogether.  The report blames modern agricultural methods, climate change and pollution for the decline. Kent Wildlife Trust

BRITISH FARMERS HAVE TAKEN PART IN A “HUGE AMOUNT OF WORK” TO DELIVER BENEFITS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, reports Farming UK.  The NFU released the statement in response to the State of Nature report, referenced above.  Responding to the report, the NFU said that British agriculture has “embarked on a long journey of protecting and maintaining” the environment. According to the NFU’s own environment report, around 10,000ha of wildflower habitat have been planted, over 35,000ha are under positive management conserving field trees, grasslands, woodlands and orchards, and 47,000ha of buffer strips protect watercourses and features.  The industry has also set a target to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Farming UK

SMITHFIELD MARKET HAS BEEN SHUT DOWN BY “ANIMAL REBELLION” CAMPAIGNERS, reports Farming UK.  The UK’s largest meat market has been transformed into a “plant-based market” by vegan activists.  The protest coincided with the sister campaign’s “Extinction Rebellion” which has sought to paralyse central London this week.  Activists in tents occupied the centuries-old market, which has been trading for over 800 years.  Meat stalls have been replaced with fruit and veg and vegan options.  It is part of efforts to “urgently end the industries of animal farming and fishing.”  Met Police had arrested 280 demonstrators by Monday night, at the start of a two week long campaign.  Prime Minister Boris Johnson labelled the activists “uncooperative crusties.”  Farming UK

SHEEP FARMERS ARE URGING ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISTS AND GREEN CAMPAIGNERS TO CONSIDER BRITISH WOOL AS A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE TO SYNTHETIC FIBRES, reports Farming UK.  Every year sheep will produce a new fleece and they will do so as long as there is grass for them to graze on, making wool an excellent renewable fibre source.  Fibres such as polyester, nylon and acrylic are all forms of plastic and make up about 60% of the clothing material worldwide.  Farming UK

EATING YOUR GREENS COULD HELP TO BEAT THE BLUES, reports the Times.  A new study has added to growing evidence that a good diet is an effective way to combat mental illness, by finding that the symptoms of young adults with depression improved when they were encouraged to eat more healthily. Modifying diet to reduce processed food intake and increase consumption of fruit, vegetables, fish and olive oil improved depression symptoms in young adults, found the researchers.  The symptoms of depression, including low energy, reduced motivation and apathy all decreased when diet improved.  The Times

THE FARM MINISTER BELIEVES UK FARMERS AND FOOD PRODUCERS HAVE A BRIGHT FUTURE – NO MATTER HOW BREXIT IS EVENTUALLY RESOLVED, reports Farmers Weekly.  Speaking at the Farmers Weekly Annual Awards in London last week, he acknowledged that many people had “had enough of Brexit” and politics for the time being.  However, he said that despite the many constitutional dilemmas that have been thrown up from so many institutions, with weaknesses exposed in the courts and parliament, he is confident that “clarity and resolution will eventually prevail.”  He said that people are searching out high-quality British food, including retailers who had stepped up to the challenge and helped to develop a brand around UK agriculture.  He went on to say that the UK has some of the world’s great innovators.  DEFRA research has shown that the top 30% of performers across virtually all UK farm sectors were among the most efficient and competitive in the world.  Farmer’s Weekly

JEREMY CLARKSON’S “I BOUGHT THE FARM” IS NOW OFFICIALLY IN PRODUCTION, reports Farming UK.  The eight part series follows Jeremy Clarkson as he attempts to run his very own 1,000-acre working farm.  The series will observe the highs and lows of what the former Top Gear presenter hopes will be a rural idyll, but could just as easily become a rustic nightmare.  Clarkson, a self-confessed “inept townie” with zero agricultural knowledge will, along with help, try to set up a viable working farm in modern day rural Britain.  Clarkson tweeted “of course to be a farmer you have to be an agronomist, a businessman, a politician, an accountant, a vet, and a mechanic.  And I’m … none of those things.  I don’t even know what agronomist means.” Farming UK

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