15th November 2019


Rural Rap

A KENT ARTISAN BUTCHER AND SAUSAGE MAKER HAS WON A “YOUNG BRITISH FOODIE” AWARD, reports the Kent Messenger.  Lizzy Douglas, who opened the Black Pig butchers in Deal five years ago, was nominated by her customers for the national gong.  The YBF Awards are fast becoming one of the most prestigious awards in the industry recognising small producers and craftspeople in the food trade.  Judges were impressed by her ethos and samples of her specialities, such as sausages made with locally sourced wild garlic and fennel from Dover beach.  All her meat is free range and butchered or hand-made on site.  Kent Online

MORRISONS HAS LAUNCHED AN APPRENTICESHIP TRANSFER LEVY TO SUPPORT THE NEXT GENERATION OF BRITISH FARMERS, reports Farming UK.  The opportunity will help young farmers to receive financial assistance while studying at their local agricultural college.  The Prince’s Countryside Fund is working with the retailer to ensure young people have the correct skills and knowledge for the industry.  The levy is open for those over 19, employed on a farm, and enrolled in an apprenticeship or training programme at the local agricultural college.

Those interested are encouraged to apply online.

FARMERS LOOKING TO DIVERSIFY ARE ENCOURAGED TO APPLY FOR NEW FUNDING, reports Farming UK.  New funding has become available for farm diversification projects and expressions of interest are open until 16 February 2020.  Farmers could be eligible for a Growth Programme grant if their business is carrying out a project to create jobs or bring more money into the rural economy.  There are three types of grant: business development, food processing and rural tourism infrastructure.  Farminguk.com/news

THE BACK BRITISH FARMING MESSAGE WAS PROUDLY ON DISPLAY IN LONDON DURING THE ANNUAL LORD MAYOR’S SHOW, reports Farmers Weekly and Farming UK.  The 804-year old annual event is seen as an opportunity for farmers to promote the industry.  This year’s procession featured a Massey Ferguson tractor and a British Farmers Market stocked full of local, seasonal produce.  After the event, the food from the stall was donated to the City Harvest charity which supports 300 organisations across London.  In all, 2.2 tonnes of fresh food was donated – the equivalent of 5,000 meals.



Farmers Weekly/farm-life/lord-mayors-show-parade-showcases-best-of-british-farming

PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATES ARE CALLED TO GET BEHIND THE RURAL POWERSHOUSE INITIATIVE, reports the Kent Messenger and Farming UK.  The initiative, led by the CLA, aims to unleash the power of the rural economy.  It aims to close the rural productivity gap, adding £43bn to UK GVA per year, while transforming the lives of people who live and work in the countryside.  Proposed measures include digital connection, a revamped planning system, ending uncertainty for farmers and allowing free and frictionless trade, a simpler tax regime and more investment in rural skills.  The group is writing to every single parliamentary candidate across England and Wales.



THE TORIES HAVE PLEDGED TO QUADRUPLE THE NUMBER OF MIGRANT AGRICULTURAL WORKERS ALLOWED TO WORK ON UK FARMS EACH YEAR, reports Farming UK and Farmers Weekly.  Under SAWS, announced last year, 2,500 people from outside the EU can work temporarily on British farms each year.  But this has led to alarm bells over labour concerns.  Soft fruit production in the UK has grown by 130% in the last 20 years, but the sector has seen a sharp decline in the number of seasonal workers available to pick crops, with 100 tons of fruit unpicked this year because of a lack of labour.  The UK apple harvest, worth £400m per year, has been hardest hit.


Farmers Weekly/business/business-management/staff/tories-promise-farmers-more-seasonal-migrant-workers

MINETTE BATTERS IS SET FOR A SECOND TERM AS NFU PRESIDENT, reports Farmers Weekly.  Other senior officeholders have ruled themselves out of running for the union’s top job.  NFU Deputy President Guy Smith, and Vice President Stuart Roberts have both said they would not stand against Mrs Batters.  Guy Smith is to stand for re-election as NFU Deputy President.  He said “with the politics of Brexit where they are, I think it makes sense for the same team to lead the NFU through the next two years.”  Other candidates could also emerge over the coming months.  Farmers Weekly/news

FARMERS ARE BEING ASKED TO HELP HIGHLIGHT THE BENEFITS OF THEIR LOCAL LIVESTOCK MARKET, reports Farmers Weekly.  A study commissioned by The Prince’s Countryside Fund will examine how a viable, socially responsible and vibrant livestock mart sector can be encouraged, supported and preserved.  Since March 2018, one third of the UK’s 75 livestock auction firms have recorded a loss.  Researchers at Exeter University want to hear from auctioneers, livestock owners and any other stakeholders who use auction marts, to help identify examples of good practice as markets adapt to changing demands and circumstances.   Farmers Weekly/Business


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-Ordinator, a Group Chairperson, and other volunteers.

For further information, please contact:

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


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.

Dates for your diary

16th November : Wine Garden of England Festival
Sip, share and discover the stories behind some of England’s finest wines at this exclusive festival at Rochester Cathedral, back for its second year.  The Wine Garden of England is made up of seven Kent wine producers: Biddenden, Chapel Down, Domain Evremond, Gusbourne, Hush Heath, Simpsons’ Wine Estate and Squerryes.  During the festival, you will have the chance to meet expert winemakers, sampleup to 30 premium wines from Kent and learn more about our very own wine pioneers.
Rochester Cathedral, Rochester, ME1 1SX
Multiple times available; tickets £35 each
To book a ticket, please visit: https://www.winegardenofengland.co.uk/events/wine-garden-of-england-wine-tasting-at-rochester-cathedral-53368/

28th November : Water Resources on Your Farm

Managing arable for better soil and water quality and retention
Championing the Farmed Environment and PROWATER invite you to a free workshop, including the latest initiatives and support for water provision and protection.  Water is vital to farming and growing efficiently and competitively, but water availability and quality in the South East are critical.  Hear talks on: “water resources – building resilience for an uncertain future;” “regulation, incentives and advice for soil and water;” “developing payments for improving water infiltration and storage;” and “water use and management in a major soft fruit enterprise.”
The Fruit Rooms, Hugh Lowe Farms, Mereworth ME18 5NE
This is a FREE event, but booking is essential
10am to 3pm, including lunch
To book, please contact: Paul Cobb on 07713 333 160 / 01233 813 186  or email paul.cobb@fwagsoutheast.co.uk

2nd December : Cover Cropping for Clean Water and Profitable Farming
FWAG South East and Affinity Water are holding a free event at their Kent cover crop trials site.  You are invited to view this year’s plots and hear the latest on the benefits of different mixes, their agronomy and management into the following grop.  BASIS & NRoSO points applied for.  The morning will begin with breakfast and short presentations before visiting the nearby trial plots (by kind permission of Dough Taylor, Hope Farm).
Find out about the impact cover crops have on water movement and winter nitrogen losses from land with real data; hear about the latest on farm specialist advice available from CSF, and listen to Hertfordshire farmer Ian Waller’s experiences on zero tillage arable farming, including grazing management of cover crops.
Alkham Village Hall, Alkham CT15 7BU
This is a FREE event, but booking is essential
8.30am to 12.30pm, including breakfast
To book, please contact Paul Cobb on 07713 333 160 / 01233 813 186 or email paul.cobb@fwagsoutheast.co.uk

3rd December : Carols at Christmas
Raising money for R.A.B.I.  and FCN

For children and adults of all ages, in the cattle ring at Ashford market.  Music and singing, nativity play with real animals and real smells, free mulled wine and mince pies.  Raffle for a Christmas hamper, donated by Perry Court Farm Shop.  Courtesy of Hobbs Parker.
The Cattle Ring, Ashford Market, Kent TN24 0HB
Entry is completely free, dress warmly.
For further information: Richard Beaugie on 01233 732 580 or randjbeaugie@gmail.com

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 633057
The Kent Showground, Detling
To register your attendance: http://bit.ly/2LdY4l1

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