11th September 2020

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Rural Rap

JAPAN HAS BECOME THE LATEST NATION TO CRAVE KENT’S WINES AFTER A FLURRY OF DEALS WERE UNCORKED, reports the Kent Messenger.  The South East accounts for 61.5% of British vineyards thanks to climate and soil.  Approximately 550,000 bottles of English wine were shipped internationally last year.  Although the US continues to be the primary export market for English wine, Japan is fast becoming a key importer, accounting for 6% of all exports.  The Gusbourne Estate has recently secured a deal with Japan Airways and Hush Heath as a £100,000 deal with a Japanese wine importer and distributor.   kentonline.co.uk/kent-business/county-news/why-japan-cant-get-enough-of-our-wine-233381/

SHEPHERD NEAME HAS TEAMED UP WITH SHEPPY’S TO GIVE ITS ORCHARD VIEW CIDER A REVAMP, reports the Kent Messenger.  The Faversham brewer launched Orchard View three years ago and now, following the tie-up with Somerset’s oldest family cider maker, it has given the cider a new branding and tweaked the flavour.  Shepherd Neame says the subtle changes to its colour, aroma and flavour will prove a hit with drinkers.  There’s a new look to its bottle design too with a bolder colour scheme being rolled out, while its apple logo is retained.   kentonline.co.uk/kent-business/county-news/cider-gets-a-taste-and-brand-revamp-233337/

A KENT FARMER HAS BECOME AN INSTAGRAM HIT AFTER LEAVING LONDON FOR FARMING, reports the BBC.  Zoe Colville was a London hairdresser who lived for weekend parties, but quit the city to live and work full-time on the farm.  She now looks after hundreds of sheep, goats and cattle on the land she tends with her partner near Maidstone.  She documents her day to day life on the farm to her hundreds of followers and teaches them the realities of where their food comes from.  bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-kent-53867930

WEST KENT FARMERS ARE URGED TO BE VIGILANT FOLLOWING A SPATE OF SAT NAV THEFTS FROM TRACTORS, warns Kent Police.  Five vehicles were targeted on farms in the Sevenoaks district, between the 7th & 8th September.  The systems cost several thousand pounds to buy for each tractor.  The thefts are being investigated by Kent Police’s Rural Task Force and officers are appealing for information.  Farmers are reminded that they should remove sat-navs from tractors and other farm machinery overnight.  Property marking kits should also be considered.   kent.police.uk/news/kent/news2/appeals/2009/tractor-navigation-thefts-in-west-kent/

BORIS JOHNSON AND SIR KEIR STARMER SHOWED THEIR SUPPORT FOR FARMING BY WEARING A WOOL AND WHEAT PIN DURING PMQs, reports Farming UK.  The PM and Labour Leader were joined by MPs from across the political spectrum, who wore the badge in honour of Back British Farming Day.  The badge is made from British-produced wheat and wool.  In response to a question, the PM said he was “thrilled to support Back British Farming Day,” adding that “it is thanks to them that we have fantastic food on our plates every day and that we have an amazing opportunity to increase our agriculture exports around the world.”   farminguk.com/news/pm-and-labour-leader-wear-back-british-farming-badges_56505.html

FARMERS ARE CALLING ON MPs TO PROTECT BRITISH FOOD STANDARDS AS THE BREXIT TRANSITION PERIOD DRAWS TO A CLOSE, reports Farming UK.  Farmers used Back British Farming Day to promote their commitment to high production standards, and urged the public to contact their local MPs to show their support for the day.  Farmers need the support of MPs and the public now, more than ever before.  Over a million people signed a petition demanding that the government uphold the UK’s food and farming standards in any Brexit trade deal.   farminguk.com/news/back-british-farming-day-farmers-urge-mps-to-safeguard-standards_56489.html

THE FARMING AND KEEPERING TEAMS AT PEPPERING HAVE ACHIEVED THE HOLY GRAIL OF WILDLIFE RESTORATION ALONGSIDE PROFITABLE FARMING, reports the GWCT.  In 2002, Dick Potts, head of the Sussex Study into farmland wildlife, visited the Duke of Norfolk and his estate manager to ask if they could help prevent the extinction of the grey partridge on the Sussex Downs.  He made it clear that, unless action was taken, the species would be extinct in the area within a decade.  The Peppering Project was born.  From six wild birds in 2003, the team has built a sustainable population of 300 breeding pairs, with September stubble counts of over 2,000 partridge.  Alongside this recovery, the skylark is up 57%, the linnet 94%, yellowhammer up 20%, lapwings up 71%, and brown hares, kestrels and short-eared owls are thriving.  One of the key principles of the project was that the conservation had to be done alongside profitable farming – and that has been achieved.   workingforwildlife.co.uk/case-studies/lowlands/shining-beacon-of-hope

WHEAT PRICES WENT HIGHER AGAIN THIS WEEK DUE TO A FALLING POUND AND LOWER SUPPLY, reports Farmers Weekly.  London’s November feed wheat contract saw a weekly rise of over £7/t to £174/t on Wednesday.  Barley values have also benefitted from the competitive environment.  Growers remain reluctant sellers of a small wheat crop, fearful of overcommitting and having seen prices rise over the past few weeks as harvest prospects worsen for crops still in the field.   fwi.co.uk/business/markets-and-trends/crop-prices/wheat-price-rise-gathers-pace-on-sterlings-fall

SPECULATION IS RIFE OVER THE IMPENDING AUTUMN BUDGET, reports Farming UK.  The next Budget is expected in October or November, amid talks of a possible delay until the Covid crisis is over.  Rural and farming businesses are speculating as to how the Chancellor might start to recoup the substantial outlays of the last six months and stop the haemorrhaging of public finances.  Those that are asset rich – in terms of property or pensions – may well be in the firing line.  While it is considered unlikely, it is not impossible that taxes such as NI and VAT will go up.  Pension tax relief may be lowered, but the negative impact of any increase in Corporation Tax might be too hard for the economy to swallow.  farminguk.com/news/autumn-budget-speculation-grows-amid-covid-19-and-brexit_56495.html

THE FARMING HELP CHARITIES ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO SUPPORT THE FARMING COMMUNITY THROUGH THE PANDEMIC. 

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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