13th October 2023


Rural Rap


A developer has resubmitted plans for a hotel and spa to be built in a Kent country park.

Read more.


An estate has planted 200 willows in Kent, as another 220 trees head off to be made into cricket bats – potentially for some of the world’s top players.
The trees have been planted at Hadlow Easte near Tonbridge.

Read more. 


Farmers will protest at more than 30 retailer sites across the country as part of a new coordinated action against low prices and unfair treatment 

Proud to Farm, a newly formed protest group, has confirmed it will undertake the action at over 30 retailer distribution sites on Friday (13 October) at 7pm.

Read more.

Less than half of farmers have a succesion plan, survey says

Less than half of farmers have a succession plan and the percentage hasn’t moved in three years, according to new research.

NFU Mutual’s annual survey found that just under half of farmers (48%) have a succession plan in place in 2023.

Read more.

Red Tractor sets out next steps with new voluntary environment module

Red Tractor has unveiled a timetable to make its Greener Farms Commitment (GFC) available from April 2024.

The assurance body’s new module offers farmers a single route to demonstrate the steps they are taking on the environment.

Read more.

England’s sheep flock falls to lowest population in over 10 years

England’s sheep flock has declined to its lowest recorded population in over 10 years against the backdrop of numerous challenges, new Defra figures show.

The annual livestock survey shows the English sheep flock declined by 3.2% year-on-year, totalling 14.5 million head in June 2023.

This is the lowest recorded population since 2011, with female breeding flock seeing a reduction of 116,000 head (-1.6%).

Read more. 

FSA shares update on tackling food crime from the Food Fraud Working Group 

The FSA, working with food industry partners, has published a stakeholder message which sets out proposals from the Food Fraud Working Group including a number to report food crime to.

Read more. 

Schools and NHS caterers ‘must stop’ antibiotic overuse 

Hospital and school caterers are not doing enough to stop farmers from overusing antibiotics in their animals, according to campaign groups.

Such overuse raises the risk of antibiotic resistance rendering key human medicines ineffective.

Read more.

Starmer’s approach must focus on brownfield first, we say

CPRE welcomes Keir Starmer’s pledge to ‘build a new Britain’ by prioritising brownfield sites for development.

This brownfield-first approach has the potential to provide genuinely affordable housing for millions of people without damaging the countryside around towns and cities which is crucial for the wellbeing of millions of people and sacrificing rural communities.

Read more.

National Fruit Show entry deadline extended

Entry for apples, pears, soft fruit, cobnuts and walnuts extended and details for cider producers to send in samples for judging.

Read more. 
Climate change could make beer taste worse

Global warming is changing the quality and taste of beer, scientists have warned.

A new study reveals that the quantity of European hops, which gives beer its distinctive bitter taste, is declining.

Read more. 

Sunak’s U-turns make net zero harder and keep bills high, watchdog warns 

Rishi Sunak’s reversals on key climate policies have damaged the UK’s ability to meet its carbon-cutting goals and will keep energy bills high for millions of households, with the effect of “making net zero considerably harder to achieve”, the UK’s climate watchdog has warned.

Read more. 

“Deafening silence” from retailers as farmer petition hits milestone

A survey calling on retailers to provide a fairer deal to the UK’s struggling farmers has reached over 50,000 signatures, but supermarkets are yet to respond.

The petition, addressed to the CEOs of the nation’s ‘big six’ supermarkets, has also been signed by over 100 leading figures and industry bodies.

Read more. 
World Egg Day: Poultry farmers gear up to celebrate the humble egg 

The annual initiative, which takes place this year on Friday 13 October, is seen as a chance for farmers to raise the profile of their sector.

Read more. 

Protocol for the Collection of Honey Reference Samples

The Government Chemist has led work to develop a sampling protocol, the first of its kind in the world, for the collection of reference samples used to establish/develop honey authenticity databases.

Read more. 

Labour’s rural vision

With opinion polls continuing to suggest a strong likelihood of the Labour Party forming the next government, few political questions could be more important to the countryside than how it intends to govern rural Britain.

The Countryside Alliance Foundation’s fringe event held at the Labour Party Conference (Sunday 8 October 2023) saw another outstanding panel of speakers address that issue with a well-attended assembly of activists and parliamentary candidates.


Kent Wildlife Trust wins Biodiversity Protection Award

Kent Wildlife Trust has won the Biodiversity Protection Award at the National Sustainability Awards for the Wilder Blean initiative.

Read more. 


Sustainable Farming Incentive for organic farmers and growers

13th October 12:00 – 1:15PM, free webinar on the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) for organic farmers and growers.

Christopher Stopes, Co-chair of the English Organic Forum will introduce the hour-long session. Daniel De Cruz and David Sillett, part of the Farming and Countryside Programme, will then set out the offer.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will go on to explain the process to apply for an agreement. There will also be time to ask questions at the end of the Webinar.

Register at:  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/organic-forum-webinar-tickets-731827534857?aff=oddtdtcreator

RABI Harvest Lunch - Saturday 21 October 2023

The Wishful Thinker, Lenham Heath Rd, Sandway, ME17 2HY

12 noon arrival 12.30pm sit down for two course meal with a cash bar

TICKETS: £35 per person
AUCTION and RAFFLE on the day – donations of prizes are welcome


Romney Marsh slow cooked lamb shank, mash potato, braised red cabbage, runner beans, mint sauce OR

Wild mushroom, tarragon risotto, with Twineham parmesan, truffle oil and rocket (vegan option available)


Bookings Robert Pickard or Marian Montgomerie Email: pickard190@btinternet.com or marian@fgpierce.com

If you are unable to attend but would like to support us, a donation or contribution of a raffle item would be much appreciated.

The National Fruit Show - 1st & 2nd November 2023

Kent County Showground, Detling

9.00am-5pm daily.

Free to attend and full programme of events and speakers over two days including keynote speech given by Minette Batters, President of the NFU.

Tickets to dinner (1 Nov, 6.30pm-midnight) with champagne reception and networking now for sale, contact info@nationalfruitshow.org.uk

Come and celebrate the 90th year of the show and support the industry as it looks forward to a bright future.

For full details, to enter fruit or cider or to register attendance click here.

CLA Rural Business Conference- Thursday 30 November 2023

This year’s CLA Rural Business Conference ‘Competing visions: the future of land’ will help those who own or manage rural land to make sense of the vital role of land in an increasingly political and polarising landscape.

Taking place at the QEII Centre in central London, our flagship event will allow landowners and land managers to explore the complex relationship between themselves, consumers, corporations, governments, environmentalists and political campaigners.

More details.

Farm Expo 2024

6 March 2024

Kent County Showground, Detling