14th January 2022


Rural Rap

THE INAUGURAL KENT FARMING CONFERENCE IS TO TAKE PLACE LATER THIS MONTH, reports KCAS.  Hoping to build on the success of Farm Expo, the Kent Farming Conference will share views on Regenerative Farming, Environmental and Land Management Schemes, the Basic Pay Scheme and reducing carbon footprints.  With influential guest speakers, it will also host seminars on diversification, sustainability and the future of farming.  It is a new addition to the annual calendar of Society events and will be held at 6pm on 26th January at the Kent Showground.  While it is free to attend, it is necessary to register interest in advance.  Food will be provided.

FARMERS PLAY A PIVOTAL ROLE IN KEEPING KENT MOVING IN THE SNOW, reports the Kent Messenger.  A network of 114 farmers and plant operators are equipped with snow ploughs each year to help clear rural areas, enabling the conventional gritters to concentrate on the key primary roads.  In the past five years, Kent has had at least three county-wide snow emergencies where KCC has been assisted by our farming communities.  KCC is now digitising routes covered by farmers to help better track resources.  It is important that roads are kept as clear as possible to ensure access for emergency services, as well as to enable rural communities to continue about their business.
Kent County Council could deploy farmers to help clear the snow off the country roads this winter (kentonline.co.uk)

VOTING IS NOW OPEN FOR THIS YEAR’S TASTE OF KENT AWARDS, reports the Kent Messenger.  The public can now vote until 28th February, with the winners crowned in a glitzy awards ceremony at the Kent Event Centre at Detling on 12th May.  Now in its 17th year, the awards is an event dedicated to showcasing the best products Kent has to offer and the businesses behind them.  It is the longest running food and drink awards in the South East.
Taste of Kent Awards 2022: Voting open now for annual food and drink awards (kentonline.co.uk)

RAW SEWAGE, MICROPLASTICS AND SLURRY ARE COURSING THROUGH ALL OF ENGLAND’S RIVERS, reports the BBC.  A new parliamentary report concludes that agriculture and water companies are the biggest contributor to this “chemical cocktail.”  Car tyre particles, oils and wet wipes are also clogging waterways.  No river in England can be given a clean bill of health, and budget cuts are hampering the EA’s ability to stop pollution.  The water and riverbanks are home to rich plant, fish and insect life and are essential to biodiversity, but chemicals, plastics and an excess of nutrients are choking the water.

TAKE PART IN THE GWCT BIG FARMLAND BIRD COUNT AND MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE TO THE UK’S SONGBIRDS, reports the GWCT.  A call has gone out to the UK’s farmers, gamekeepers and land managers to take part in the Big Farmland Bird Count from 4-20 February.  The count requires one person to sit in one part of a farm for 30 minutes during that time and record species and quantities of bird life, before recording it on the GWCT website.  It is designed to encourage farmers and gamekeepers to support farmland birds and highlight the hard work already done by many of them to help reverse species’ declines.  The count also gives a vital national snapshot of the health of the UK’s birdlife.

RABI HAS LAUNCHED TWO NEW SUPPORT SERVICES IN RESPONSE TO ITS BIG FARMING SURVEY, reports RABI and Farming UK.    The Big Farming Survey found that over a third of farming people are probably or possibly depressed.  The two new services are a free, confidential in-person counselling delivered by BACP accredited counsellors.  Clinical or GP referrals are not necessary, with counsellors responding to initial requests for support within 24 hours.  Additionally, RABI is launching the first suite of accredited / certified mental health training tailored for the farming sector.

GLOBAL FOOD PRICES REACHED A TEN-YEAR HIGH IN 2021, reports Farming UK.  This represented an increase of over 28% year on year.  The UN’s FAO tracks monthly changes in international prices and would usually see high prices ease as production increased to match demand.  This time however, the consistently high cost of inputs, the ongoing pandemic and ever more volatile climatic conditions “leave little room for optimism about a return to more stable market conditions even in 2022.”  Biggest gainers were maize, up 44.1% and wheat, up 31.3%.
Global food prices reached ten-year high in 2021 – FarmingUK News

MORRISONS IS THE FIRST UK SUPERMARKET TO SWITCH TO “BEST BEFORE” DATES ON ITS MILK, reports Farming UK.  The move is part of efforts to help reduce food waste.  From 31st January, the retailer will scrap “use by” dates on 90% of its own brand milk, instead encouraging customers to use a sniff test.  Unlike some other fresh products, drinking milk after a “Best Before” date is not a food safety issue.  Figures show that milk is the third most wasted food and drink product in the UK, after potatoes and bread, with 490m pints wasted each year.

ASDA HAS DROPPED ITS PLEDGE TO STOCK EXCLUSIVELY BRITISH BEEF, reports Farming UK.  In October, the retailer was hailed for supplying 100% British beef in all of its fresh meat counters.  Its pledge at that time came after it was criticised for importing tonnes of Polish beef in 2020, a move that was described as being “out of touch with current thinking.”  Asda’s premium Extra Special tier will remain 100% British, but it will also source fresh beef from Ireland.
Asda criticised after dropping pledge to source British beef – FarmingUK News

KENT FARMING CONFERENCE - Wednesday 26th January @ 6pm

Influential guest speakers, seminars and networking opportunities.
Sharing views on regenerative farming, environmental and land management schemes, Basic Pay Scheme and reducing footprints. 

Free event, pre-registration required.
Kent Showground, Detling

Wednesday 26th January 2022, 6pm

Food provided.

For further information, and to register, please visit: https://kcas.org.uk/the-kent-farming-conference/

AONB KENT DOWNS : Grants for farmers, land managers and landowners

Applications are now open for the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme (link)

The three year scheme aims to fund outcomes for People, Place, Climate and Nature in the Kent Downs.  It is possible to apply for more than one year.  Applications can range from £250k, to no miminum.  Funding can be up to 100%, but value for money is part of the assessment criteria.

Applicants will be supported to carry out projects that:

  • Provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and cultural heritage
  • Support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses
  • Mitigate the impacts of climate change
  • Support nature recovery


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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