12th June 2020


Rural Rap

AS KENT’S BEAUTY SPOTS REOPEN, THEY HAVE TAKEN A BATTERING FROM VISITORS, reports the Kent Wildlife Trust.  The trust as appealed to people’s love of nature following last weekend’s fires, vandalism, littering and disturbance to wildlife.  KWT has described antisocial behaviour on its sites, including abuse directed towards staff as the worst they’ve ever known.  Bird hides have been so badly damaged that they have had to be removed.  A wildlfire at Pegwell Bay destroyed fragile wildlife habitat, killing hundreds of reptiles.  Windows have been broken, people have blocked roads, and reserves have been inundated with litter and fly-tipping.  The Trust has struggled to cope with the scale of the problems. The Trust has seen a £600-£800k loss in income over the pandemic period, resulting in furloughed staff and a smaller warden team, who are now having to deal with the destruction.   kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/news/love-and-look-after-it

SEASONAL AGRICULTURE WORKERS ARRIVING IN THE UK WILL NOT HAVE TO SELF-ISOLATE FOR 14 DAYS, reports Farmers Weekly.  Those travelling into the country to work on farms will be able to start immediately because of the importance of the work to safeguard our food supply.  Workers will have to fill in a form with their journey, contact details and the address of the farm where they will live and work, as well as provide proof that they are arriving for farmwork.  For the first fortnight, workers will only be allowed to leave the firm under exceptional circumstances.   fwi.co.uk/business/business-management/staff/coronavirus-uk-eases-restrictions-on-foreign-seasonal-workers

RIBENA HAS INVESTED OVER HALF A MILLION POUNDS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CLIMATE-RESILIENT BLACKCURRANTS, reports Farming UK.  Lucozade Ribena Suntory, which uses 90% of the blackcurrants grown in Britain, has teamed up with the James Hutton Institute for the five year project.  Around 10,000 tonnes of blackcurrants are harvested from British fields each year to keep up with consumer demand.  The plans need a period of sustained cold weather in the winter, without which they yield less fruit and have a shorter lifespan.  As winters in the UK gradually become warmer, blackcurrant farming is coming under threat.

THE UK IS PRIMED FOR A STRONG CHERRY SEASON, reports Farming UK.  Around 6,000 tonnes of home-grown British cherries are predicted to hit supermarket shelves this year.  Consumers will be able to buy home-grown cherries from the end of June, with this year’s harvest expected to begin a week earlier than in 2019 thanks to crops coming on slightly faster through this year’s warm spring.  The favourable weather conditions over the winter months has led growers to anticipate not just a sizeable crop, but a high-quality crop across most varieties.  farminguk.com/news/uk-growers-expect-healthy-2020-cherry-season_55810.html

A FULL “HEALTH-CHECK” OF AN ORGANIC FARM HAS SHOWN HOW ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY FARMING AND A PROFITABLE BUSINESS CAN GO HAND IN HAND, reports Farmers Weekly and Farming UK.  Nature and soil health are “flourishing” at the National Trust’s Wimpole Home Farm near Cambridge.  A full health audit of the farm shows an increase in the numbers of breeding pairs of rare farmland birds, invertebrates and how the land is a significant sequester of carbon.  The 1,419 acre mixed livestock and arable farm has been focused on sustainable farming methods for the past 12 years.  In terms of “public goods,” Wimpole has over 40km of public rights of way and permissive path, which see over 350,000 visitors each year.  The farm also returns a healthy profit.

THOUSANDS OF ANIMALS WILL BE SPARED LONG JOURNEYS TO BE SLAUGHTERED UNDER PLANS FOR THE FIRST MODERN MOBILE ABATTOIR, reports the Times.  The abattoir will tour farms and help to protect supplies of locally reared meat.  A third of small abattoirs have closed in the past decade, leaving just 62 in the UK.  The demise of such facilities, which run on tiny profit margins, is undermining efforts to meet demand for locally sourced food.  Jane Parker of Gloucestershire is planning the UK’s first modern, mobile abattoir in time for Christmas.  Animals will be slaughtered inside a lorry using methods approved by the Humane Slaughter Association.

A NEW REPORT HAS HIGHLIGHTED THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF SMALL ABATTOIR CLOSURES ON THE RURAL ECONOMY, reports Farming UK.  A third of small abattoirs have closed in the last decade, leaving just 62 in business.  The most recent closure was just a fortnight ago, and many more are thought to be struggling for survival.  The Parliamentary report has urged the government to support the sector with an emergency fund to avoid further closures.  The report also raised concerns over the pressures on medium-sized abattoirs which have seen a 49% reduction due to the growth of a small number of large abattoirs.  The NFU said that farmers need small abattoirs to “maintain competition” and “help support the rural economy.”   farminguk.com/news/government-urged-to-support-uk-s-dwindling-small-abattoirs_55826.html

Pick for Britain!

A Government website aiming to link prospective farm workers with prospective employers.  Growers can now register their vacancies for this year’s harvest.  Please visit: https://pickforbritain.org.uk/ to register your requirements.


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


Thousands of temporary workers are needed on British farms to help feed the nation during the coronavirus pandemic. 
Jobs are available on fruit farms, arable farms, livestock farms and in pack houses – with workers also needed to fill other vacancies. 
Follow @Kentslandarmy on Facebook for specific opportunities, or visit:
To apply, please visit: Hops Labour Solutions: https://hopslaboursolutions.com/
Concordia: www.concordiavolunteers.org.uk / 01273 422 218
Pro-Force Recruitment: https://pro-force.co.uk/ / 0333 335 6262
CDS Labour: http://cdslabour.co.uk/
British Summer Fruits: www.britishsummerfruits.co.uk/jobs / 020 7575 7654



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