13th November 2020


Rural Rap

SOUTHERN WATER IS OFFERING CAPITAL GRANTS OF UP TO £10K TO HELP REDUCE WATER POLLUTION.  The grants, which are offered on a per holding, per year basis, are for new machinery and infrastructure improvements to help reduce the risk of water pollution from farming in Southern Water’s drinking water catchments.  Grants are capped at 50% of the total cost.  Eligible areas include Kent’s River Beult Catchment.  Priority will be given to items which reduce nitrate losses, though farms may also apply for other machinery or infrastructure to reduce losses of pesticides, soils, animal waste or other agrochemicals.  The scheme is also keen to hear of new and innovative ideas to protect the aquifer.
To find out more, please contact Catchment Risk Management Officer robin.kelly@southernwater.co.uk

A BID TO EXPAND THE WORKFORCE AT FW MANSFIELD & SONS HAS SPARKED DISMAY FROM NEIGHBOURING VILLAGERS, reports the Kent Messenger.  Mansfields is the UK’s largest fruit-growing firm and wants permission for 20 extra caravans to be pitched up at its base near Bridge near Canterbury.  The plans come after the multi-million pound firm snapped up a further 275 acres of farmland in Nackington and announced the creation of 80 new jobs.  But concerned villagers have blasted the proposals, fearing significant increases in traffic, litter and noise, and a rise in human faeces found near public footpaths.   kentonline.co.uk/canterbury/news/fruit-farms-growth-bid-pooh-poohed-237200/

PORT LYMPNE IS STRUGGLING TO KEEP ITS WILDLIFE SAFE DUE TO THE SECOND NATIONAL LOCKDOWN, reports the BBC.  The Hotel and Reserve spends £300k a week to operate its park and sister park Howletts.  It estimates that lockdown will have cost it £1.2m in lost income and the owners are dependent on donations to keep the animals fed and safe.  The parks have 1,300 animals to feed and without the income from visitors and no means of financial support from the government, they say it is not sustainable.

THE AGRICULTURE BILL HAS NOW BEEN GIVEN ROYAL ASSENT, reports Farming UK and Farmers Weekly, among others.  This is a milestone which industry leaders say represents a “new era” for British farmers.  The post-Brexit legislation, first unveiled in the 2017 Queen’s Speech, paves the way for new support from farmers as the UK leaves the CAP.  It will be replaced by a new “public money for public goods” system, known as the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme.  This will reward farmers for environmental improvements, such as better air and water quality, higher welfare standards, improved access to the countryside or measures to reduce flooding.

CAPITAL GAINS TAX “SHOULD DOUBLE,” reports Farmers Weekly.  A government-commissioned review has suggested a major overhaul of CGT that could leave landowners facing bigger bills.  The OTS review suggested that up to £14bn a year could be raised for the Treasury by removing exemptions and doubling existing CHT rates.  There are currently four different rates of CGT ranging from 10% for basic-rate income tax payers on certain assets, to 28% for higher-rate taxpayers on second homes and buy-to-let.  The review recommends that the 28% bracket be raised to match income tax rates of 40% in England 45% in Wales.  Applying the worst case scenario to a farm, a 10% tax on existing 1982 values could be replaced by a 45% tax based on current values.  fwi.co.uk/business/business-management/tax/capital-gains-tax-rate-should-double-review-proposes

BRITISH WINEMAKERS ARE EMBRACING THE “NOUVEAU WINE” TECHNIQUE OF EARLY FERMENTATION, reports the Times.  The technique enables wines to be drunk within about seven weeks of harvest.  A Herefordshire vineyard – the Sixteen Ridges estate – will start selling its English Nouveau later this month and, say the critics, it’s not too bad.  The Times notes that the fact that any wine at all could be grown as far north as Herefordshire fits the picture of an English wine industry that goes from strength to strength as climate change leads to improved grape-growing conditions.  Britain has nearly 800 commercial vineyards, covering about 3,500ha, up 150% in the last decade.  Last year, 10.5m bottles were produced, of which 10% were exported.  And quality continues to improve too, with some English sparkling wines winning international awards in blind-tastings with champagnes.

THE POTATO HARVEST HAS BEEN AFFECTED BY WET WEATHER YET AGAIN, reports the Grocer.  Widespread rainfall in recent weeks has hampered grower efforts to get the crop out of the ground.  AHDB reported that while 77% of the total GB potato area had been lifted by 20 October, some growers were having to contend with waterlogged fields after last month’s storms.  Progress was particularly slow in the north.  The UK experienced the fifth-wettest October since 1862 this year, including the wettest day on record for average rainfall – 31.7mm.  thegrocer.co.uk/sourcing/extreme-wet-weather-hampers-potato-harvesting-attempts/650237.article

ENGLAND’S LARGEST EVER NATIONWIDE INITIATIVE TO RESTORE NATURE HAS BEEN LAUNCHED, reports Farming UK.  The Nature Recovery Network Delivery Partnership, led by Natural England, aims to recover nature and improve public access to England.  Farmers and landowners are to play a key part in its delivery.  The scheme brings together representatives from over 600 organisations to drive forward the restoration of protected sites and landscapes.  The plan wants to provide at least 500,000ha of new wildlife-rich habitat and restore 75% of protected sites to favourable condition.  It also aims to plant around 180,000ha of new woodland.   farminguk.com/news/farmers-to-help-deliver-england-s-largest-nature-initiative_56938.html


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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