13th December 2019


Rural Rap

THE CONSERVATIVES HAVE BEEN CROWNED VICTORS IN THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTION, WITH THEIR BEST WIN SINCE 1987, reports The Times, Telegraph, Kent Messenger and all other publications.  With just one seat left to declare, and a turn out of about 63%, the Conservatives have 364 seats to Labour’s 203, SNP’s 48 and Lib Dem’s 11.  This is a result of breaking through the so-called “red wall,” with wins in Blyth Valley, among others.  In Kent no seats changed hands, with Canterbury remaining the only non-Conservative seat.  Canterbury had an exceptionally high turnout of 75%, and Rosie Duffield, the Labour candidate, won there by 1836 votes.  Boris Johnson has promised to “work night and day” to repay the trust of voters, and said that the result was a “mandate” to take the UK out of the EU next month, “no ifs, no buts.”  Jeremy Corbyn has said he will not lead the Labour party into another general election, triggering jostling for the next leadership campaign.  The big “scalps” of the night were Jo Swinson, who lost her seat in Scotland to the SNP, and Zac Goldsmith, who lost his seat in Richmond to the Lib Dems.

KENT HAS BEEN NAMED THE SECOND BEST PLACE TO VISIT IN THE WORLD, AND THE WINE GARDEN OF ENGLAND, reports Kent Online.  Iescape, the travel company, puts a visit to Kent’s vineyards ahead of the Peloponnese in Greece, Fort Kochi in India, the Portuguese Algarve, the Chilean Lake District and stargazing in the Canary Islands.  So, besides the stunning landscapes, wonderful orchards and fruit farms, the county is also being recognised for its vineyards and award-winning wines.  The travel company says that the Wine Garden of England is on the “cusp of becoming an international wine tasting destination.”  At the Decanter World Wine Awards, the county’s wineries won more prizes than any other UK region, with Chapel Down leading the charge. iEscape also praised Kent for its plethora of Michelin-starred pubs, food festivals and restaurants.

THE ANNUAL RABI CAROL SERVICE AT ASHFORD CATTLE MARKET WAS HELD LAST WEEK, reports RABI.  Over 200 people flocked to the Ashford Market for the free annual carol service, which is held in the cattle ring.  The evening raised about £600, including £100 made through the sale of mistletoe.  Organised by Richard Beaugie, the event included entertainment from the children of Spring Grove School and Brockhill Park Performing Arts College, as well as Perry Court Farm’s donkeys, sheep and cows.

A NEW SURVEY HAS BEEN LAUNCHED TO UNDERSTAND CURRENT ATTITUDES TOWARDS FARM HEALTH AND SAFETY, reports Farming UK.  The NFU, AHDB and VetPartners are working together to help reduce the risk of accidents involving people working in the agriculture industry.  HSE stats show that 17,000 farm workers suffered from work-related ill health in the last year.  There were 29 fatalities – around 18x higher than the all industry fatal injury rate.  The survey will be open until 24 December.

AGRI-FOOD BUSINESSES ARE WANTED TO TAKE PART IN A PILOT STUDY LOOKING TO SAVE FRESH FOOD WASTE, reports Farming UK.  Businesses which deal with the transportation and storage of fresh food, such as delivery companies, restaurants and farmers, are needed for the project.  The study is looking to save 1.8m tons of fresh food waste each year by using the latest technologies.  A range of sensors will be fitted to the participants’ lorries which will monitor and record food quality and signal potential issues.  Around 35% of waste occurs when food is in transit.

FARMERS ARE BEING ENCOURAGED TO TAKE PART IN AN ANNUAL BIRD COUNT WHICH RETURNS IN 2020, reports Farmers Weekly.  The project calls on farmers, land managers and gamekeepers to spend 30 minutes spotting species on their land between 7 & 16 February.  The results will aim to determine which farmland birds are benefiting from conservation efforts while identifying the ones most in need of help.  The GWCT said that “farmers are vital in helping ensure the survival of many of our most cherished farmland bird species, including skylarks, yellowhammers, corn buntings and wild grey partridge.”  Last year broke records with 1,400 people taking part – a 40% increase on the previous year, recording 140 species over 1m acres.

THOUSANDS OF FARMERS ARE EXPECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN MASS RALLIES IN CAPITAL CITIES ACROSS THE UK, reports Farmers Weekly.  The rallies will highlight the contribution of British agriculture to the economy and environment.  The show of strength and unity is set to see farmers gather in central London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.  A date is yet to be announced but it is likely to be within the next three months.  Farmers and supporters will be encouraged to participate and attend.


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-Ornator, a Group Chairperson, and other volunteers.

For further information, please contact:

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

CONSERVATION GRANTS of up to £10,000 now available

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.


10th January : Kent Business Summit
The Kent Business Summit is the County’s only cross-sector event, bringing together business, local government and academics to discuss sustainable economic growth for Kent.  Hosted by the University of Kent, over 400 delegates are expected to attend.  Speakers are coming from a broad range of institutions including the Bank of England, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and Generation Share. 
The Sibson Building, Kent Business School, Canterbury
9am to 3.30pm, including lunch and networking drinks
To book, please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/kent-business-summit-2020-tickets-76438263905

4th March: Farm Expo
Farm Expo, organised by the Kent Agricultural Society, showcases machinery, supplies and services for the agricultural industry with trade stands, seminars and networking opportunities.  Kent’s standout agricultural event will host major national and international providers of farm machinery and services and will host seminars on the industry’s trending topics.
Trade stands can be booked until 31st January by contacting Meghan Rice-Wilson on meghan@kentshowgroumd.co.uk / 01622 633 057
The Kent Showground, Detling
To register your attendance: http://bit.ly/2LdY4l1

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