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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Recent Developments

Changes to general licences for bird control

Natural England is revoking three general licences for controlling certain wild birds as of Thursday 25 April 2019.  These licences cover 16 species of birds including several members of the crow family, Canada goose, some gulls and pigeons.  Natural England is working to put in place over the next few weeks alternative measures to allow lawful control of these bird species to continue where necessary. In the meantime, once the licences have been revoked and until new licences are issued, anyone needing to control one of these 16 bird species where there is no reasonable non-lethal alternative will need to apply for an individual licence.  The action is the first stage of a planned review of general and class licences, which will be completed this year.  For further information please visit the Defra website.

Do you grow maize under plastic?

SGS Banbury is looking for a grower who grows maize under plastic that they can use for an efficacy trial looking at weeds.  A pre-emergency spray would be required.  If you are interested in being paid to host this trial please contact Jo Hawke on 01295 671933

Farms sought for coppice wood and soil erosion trials

Researchers from Earthwatch and Small Woods Association are looking for farms in Warwickshire willing to establish field-scale trials that will be used to study how coppice wood products may prevent soil erosion. The trials will involve Earthwatch and collaborators installing short bundles of coppiced wood in affected fields. It is hoped these will trap eroding soils and provide added benefits such as improving soil fertility and soil biodiversity. The trial will last 1-2 years, according to site availability. If you would like to discuss this initiative please get in touch with Martha Crockatt or Alan Jones or tel: 01865 318838

CTS Online unavailable on 27 April

Due to essential maintenance work the CTS Online service will be intermittent between 7am and 10pm on Saturday 27 April 2019.  Farmers should try to submit notifications to BCMS before or after this downtime. If however, farmers believe that this downtime will result in late movement notifications or late passport applications etc, they should notify BCMS to make sure that this downtime is accounted for at BCMS validation.

Respond to planned tenancy reforms

Plans have been put forward by Defra for a radical shake-up of agricultural tenancy legislation in England and Wales, with a key aim of making it easier for people to enter and exit the industry.  Consultations have been launched and the deadline for responses is 2 July 2019.
The papers set out options that ministers hope will create opportunities for new entrants, who they say will bring new skills, ideas and innovation to the sector.  The proposals are broadly based on the work of the Tenancy Reform Industry Group (TRIG), which made a series of recommendations to government back in 2017.

To respond to the Defra consultation please visit this page.

 

RPA bridging payments

RPA has confirmed that farmers will start receiving bridging payments from 12 April. These payments will cover BPS 2018 claims and CS 2018 advance payments.  Further information can be viewed here.

Are you a wildlife friendly farmer?

We are looking for entrants to the Forsyth Lapwing Award for 2019 which recognises farmers in Warwickshire who have integrated environmental measures with farming operations. The award is sponsored by Syngenta who will be heading the judging panel and providing the winner with a voucher for its seed mixes. The winner also retains the Forsyth Lapwing Trophy for one year.

The closing date for the competition is 7 May 2019 and short-listed farms will be expected to host a two-hour visit from the judges during the final week of May. The winner will be announced at the Syngenta barbeque and crop trials event in Chesterton on the evening of 1 July. This year we have simplified the entry form, so download your copy below and send your entry to Jane Hampson on info@ruralhub.org.uk by 7 May.

Forsyth Trophy 2019 Application Form

Storage and spreading of manures post Brexit

In the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, farmers may find themselves in a situation where they face added pressures on the storage and land-spreading of organic manures, digestate, waste and potentially waste milk.  The NFU has been informed by the Environment Agency (EA) that current regulations on the storage and land-spreading of these materials will remain in place as it currently stands unless further notice is given by Defra or the EA.

NFU launches new mobile app

The National Farmers’ Union has launched a dedicated app as an additional tool to help members stay up-to-date with the very latest NFU news, advice and information.  The app will enable members to access important NFU updates quickly and easily, with the ability to customise content by farming sector, access content without an internet connection and have the option of being notified when important news and information is uploaded.  For further information please visit this page.

Electronic Communications Code and landowners

The one-year-old Code has vastly changed the relationship between landowners and telecoms operators. With more power in the operators’ hands and rents appearing to plummet, landowners have understandably felt aggrieved. But after a long standoff, the two sides are reconnecting. So what are the key messages for landowners wanting the best deal from their telecoms lettings? Read this briefing note from our business supporter Shakespeare Martineau to find out.

Are you a wildlife friendly farmer?

We are looking for entrants to the Forsyth Lapwing Award for 2019 which recognises farmers in Warwickshire who have integrated environmental measures with farming operations. The award is sponsored by Syngenta who will be heading the judging panel and providing the winner with a voucher for its seed mixes. The winner also retains the Forsyth Lapwing Trophy for one year.

The closing date for the competition is 7 May 2019 and short-listed farms will be expected to host a two-hour visit from the judges during the final week of May. The winner will be announced at the Syngenta barbeque and crop trials event in Chesterton on the evening of 1 July.  This year we have simplified the entry form, so download your copy below and send your entry to Jane Hampson on info@ruralhub.org.uk by 7 May.

Forsyth Trophy 2019 Application Form

Have you registered for Tax Digital?

The government’s new digital tax initiative due is due to be introduced on 1 April 2019, but according to a Freedom of Information request it appears that over 1 million businesses are still to register. This factsheet from Hub Business Supporter Ellacotts will give you further information on the new initiative and whether it applies to your business.

Big Farmland Bird Survey results

Results show that 1,400 farmers – a 40% increase on last year – recorded 140 species over 1 million acres in this year’s Big Farmland Bird Count. A total of 30 red-listed species were recorded, with 5 appearing in the most-commonly seen species list. These included fieldfares, starlings, house sparrows, yellowhammers and song thrushes, with the first four seen by over 30% of the farms taking part. The five most abundant birds seen were woodpigeons, starlings, lapwings, black-headed gulls and rooks.

The Big Farmland Bird Count is organised by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. The full results can be viewed here.

 

Increases to National Minimum Wage on 1 April

On 1 April 2019 the National Minimum Wage will increase:

workers aged 21–24 — from £7.38 to £7.70 per hour
workers aged 18–20 — from £5.90 to £6.15 per hour
workers aged 16–18 — from £4.20 to £4.35 per hour
apprentice rate — from £3.70 to £3.90 per hour

The National Living Wage (NLW) rate for workers aged 25 and over will increase from £7.83 to £8.21 per hour.

Please note that these increases are not optional and employers found to be in breach of the regulations will be subject to penalties and payments in arrears to affected employees.

 

Road closures due in May for cycle race

Farmers are notified that the 100 mile Velo cycle race on 12 May will see 17,000 cyclists head for the countryside from Birmingham city centre before a return leg back to the city. Roads on the Birmingham, Warwickshire, Coventry, Solihull, Dudley and Sandwell route will be closed for the duration of the race.    An interactive route map can be found here.

BVDFree England Initiative “Stamp it out”

Vets who have signed up to the BVDFree England scheme “Stamp it out” have made a commitment to engage 8,000 farmers in active BVD control by 2020. 3,000 farmers have signed up so far and any farmer who is interested in joining the scheme is urged to contact their vet to see whether they are taking part in the initiative. Nearly £6m has been allocated by Defra to the farming industry to tackle this highly contagious cattle disease – it is estimated that 90% of herds in England have been exposed to the disease which costs the industry £61m per annum in lost performance. Under the “Stamp it out” scheme farmers can access funding to investigate the disease and for preliminary testing work.

How to prepare for Brexit and the possibility of a no-deal exit

The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) has a dedicated web page to help farmers prepare for Brexit and the possibility of a no-deal exit. The page includes, amongst other information, a Brexit Impact Calculator, a resilience calculator and answers from experts to all of those questions you have been asking yourself. It’s a must-visit web-page for all farmers.

Carcase splitting delay

Defra officials have confirmed that the cut-off date of 30 June, which was due to be in place this year, for carcase splitting has been delayed due to Brexit uncertainty and the negotiations around our third country listing status.

Farms wanted for coppice wood and soil erosion trials

Researchers from Earthwatch and Small Woods Association are looking for farms in Warwickshire willing to establish field-scale trials that will be used to study how coppice wood products may prevent soil erosion. The trials will involve Earthwatch installing short bundles of coppiced wood in affected fields. It is hoped these will trap eroding soils and provide added benefits such as improving soil fertility and soil biodiversity. The trial will last 1-2 years, according to site availability. If you would like to discuss this, please get in touch with Martha Crockatt on mcrockatt@earthwatch.org.uk or Alan Jones on ajones@earthwatch.org.uk

Offchurch Bury Estate to host Young Farmers’ Festival

Offchurch Bury Estate near Leamington Spa has been announced as the location of the Farmers’ Weekly Young Farmers’ Festival, to be held between 2 – 5 May 2019.  This event has been designed as a celebration of the amazing contribution made to UK agriculture by young people from across the British Isles.  During the day there will be plenty to keep revellers entertained, including sports, competitions and other activities. By night there will be hard partying to headline DJs and buzzing entertainment.

Introductory guide to care farming

FarmBuddies has published an introductory guide for farmers interested in diversifying into social and care farming.  The guide provides comprehensive and concise information on social and care farming for family farms and smallholdings up to 500 acres.  To request a free copy of the five minute introductory guide please email Stephen@farmbuddies.org.uk

NFU Report: united by our environment, our food, our future

The NFU has published an important new report on the farmed environment.  The report details the role farming has played through the generations in shaping Britain’s iconic countryside. It also highlights the need for a better data-based approach to underpin effective future agricultural and environmental policy-making and to ensure that environmental successes can be recognised, as well as to understand where more work is needed.  You can download your copy here.

Relaunch of Campaign for the Farmed Environment

Campaign for the Farmed Environment re-launched on 26 February 2019 as Championing the Farmed Environment.

CFE is a partnership which supports farmers to deliver environmental benefits within a productive farm business.  They provide guidance and support to allow more farmers to manage their land in a way which works for their business and the environment and promote and celebrate the work that many farmers already do to sustain and improve the natural environmental on their farm.  Their website gives guidance on environmental management under four core themes: soil, air, water and wildlife and provides details of the regional contacts who organise training events.

Mission 4 Milk

Mission 4 Milk is a new campaign by Hillsgreen committed to spreading the word about the health benefits of milk.   With the rise of plant-based alternatives, the reduction of free milk in schools, and the shift away from milk marketing, it is believed that the average shopper doesn’t know why they should drink milk. Dairy farmers are encouraged to get involved by taking part in the milk pint challenge, grabbing a selfie with milk or by sharing thoughts on all things dairy. If you would like to take part in the campaign please email milk@hillsgreen.co.uk

Bursary for postgraduate students

The NFU Mutual Centenary Award provides annual bursaries to pay up to 75% of course fees for selected Masters or PhD students.  It is open to individuals who are expected to gain a 2:1 or above in agriculture or a related degree and have been provisionally accepted on a postgraduate course in agriculture in the UK, in autumn 2019.  The NFU Mutual Charitable Trust has identified three topic areas of interest for eligible students:

  • Sustainable agriculture and climate change
  • International agricultural development
  • The application of science and innovative technology to the agricultural industry

The closing date for applications is 30 April.  Please request an application form by emailing centenary_award@nfumutual.co.uk

Countryside Stewardship window opens

You will need to request your application pack by 31 March 2019 from Defra Rural Services Helpline at the RPA on ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk   Completed applications must be returned by 3 May 2019.

Grants for woodland creation, woodland tree health and woodland management plans remain open for applications all year. All Countryside Stewardship agreements will be funded for their full lifetime so are a viable income stream for land managers also producing private goods for the market, such as food or timber, whether there’s a deal with the EU or not.

EA position on flexing of water abstraction in 2019

The Environment Agency has published a document setting out how it will approach the flexing of abstraction conditions in 2019 in order to respond to a dry spring or summer.  You can download the document below.  You will need Acrobat Adobe to read the pdf document.

EAAbstract2019

New app allows farmers to search for bulls

A new livestock matching app named Tudder is due to be launched on 14 February.

  • The app features profiles of farm animals from 43,000 farms across the UK, representing about one-third of all UK farms
  • Farmers will swipe right for yes and left for no in the search for the perfect match for their farm
  • Once a match has been made, farmers will be redirected to the SellMyLivestock (SML) website, where they can browse photos and learn more about the breeding stock listed

The app is available to download in the Apple and Android stores – search for Tudder to find it.

Key dates for BPS, CS and ES

The Rural Payments Agency has put together a timeline of the important dates for 2019 to be aware of for Basic Payments Scheme, Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship.   The dates and further information are available on the RPA website.  Alternatively you can download the calendar here.

Police to get new powers to tackle traveller sites on private land

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced some new proposals to make it a criminal offence to set up an unauthorised camp.  The new measures include:

  • Reducing the number of vehicles involved in an unauthorised encampment before police powers can be exercised
  • Extending the period during which travellers would be unable to return to land from three to 12 months
  • A further consultation on making it a criminal offence to set up an unauthorised encampment.

Nuffield Farming Scholarships are open for applications

Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust has opened its doors for 2020 applications.  The closing date is 31 July 2019.

To date, 854 Scholars from the UK and over 1600 Scholars worldwide have been awarded Scholarships which have gone a long way in helping advance the food and farming sectors, as well as aiding personal development and career progression.  Each year, approximately 20 Scholarships are awarded, providing successful candidates with a bursary of approximately £7,000 toward the travel and research of a topic of interest in the farming, food, horticulture or rural industries.  For further information please visit this website.

Salmonella Typhimurium in sheep

Animal and Plant Health Agency has recently investigated incidents of a potential new strain of Salmonella Typhimurium in sheep. This strain of Salmonella is associated with an on-going human outbreak.  More information is available on the APHA website.

AHDB images for health and the environment

AHDB has pulled together a suite of red meat and health images, gifs and messages which you can download and use on social media to help spread positive messages on red meat, health, nutrition and the environment. You can download them from here.

Young Farmers’ festival planned by Farmers Weekly for May 2019

This spring, Farmers Weekly plans to launch a brand new event for Britain’s young farmers and other young people in our rural industries – the Young Farmers’ Festival.  The event would take place Thursday 2nd May to Sunday 5th May and comprises of activities, discussions, music, sports and general revelry!  Farmers Weekly want to hear your thoughts on some ideas for the event, so please contact James Williams at james.williams@rbi.co.uk

Water resources advice – be prepared for summer 2019

The Environment Agency has offered some advice to farmers for preparing for summer 2019:

  • Consider whether you require a licence for a previously exempt activity, including for trickle irrigation and previously exempt geographical areas. You need to apply for a licence to cover this activity by December 2019
  • Audit your water usage – use this to identify where you could save water
  • Review irrigated crop plans against water availability
  • Fill water storage reservoirs over the winter when water is available and consider increasing your onsite water storage to improve resilience (for example rainwater harvesting, or constructing a storage reservoir)
  • Assess changes you could make as to how you take water
  • Review whether your abstraction licence(s) meet your needs for next year and vary them over winter where appropriate (manage your abstraction or impoundment licence online)
  • Consider trading your water rights with other farmers if you don’t need as much water for your business
  • Look at water saving technologies
  • Make regular checks for leaks in water systems and carry out any necessary repairs
  • Create a plan for dry weather and potential shortage of water

Draft clauses in Environment Bill are published

The Environment Secretary has published draft clauses on environmental principles and governance to be included in the Environment Bill set for introduction next year.  Announced by the Prime Minister in July, the Environment Bill will create a new framework for environmental governance as we leave the EU.  You can read full details here.

Metaldehyde slug pellets to be banned from spring 2020

Defra Secretary the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP has confirmed that slug pellets containing Metaldehyde will be banned from spring 2020. It will be legal to sell Metaldehyde products for outdoor use for the next six months, with use of the products then allowed for a further 12 months. (Posted 19.12.18)

Download the Guide to Cross Compliance in England 2019

The new guide to Cross Compliance rules in England for 2019 can be downloaded here.

There are no confirmed policy changes to the rules for 2019.  However, please be aware that for SMR 1 Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) land that was in an NVZ for the first time in 2017, transitional arrangements have been in place to not meet some of the NVZ rules. These arrangements come to an end in July 2019, when the requirement to meet all the NVZ rules starts on 31 July 2019. For more information read SMR 1: Nitrate Vulnerable Zones on page 39 of the guide.

Making Tax Digital starts on 1 April 2019

With effect from 1 April 2019, if your taxable turnover is above the VAT registration threshold you must follow the Making Tax Digital rules.  Full information is available here.

New opportunity for farmers – Arden Farm Wildlife Network

Are you a farmer in the Arden area of Warwickshire interested in:
• Getting support to help you with managing the options in your environmental schemes.
• Keeping up to date with the changes in environmental support and different channels of funding available.
• Improving your farm for wildlife with low cost methods – that can benefit your business too.
• Finding more about what wildlife you have got on your farm?

The Arden Farm Wildlife Network could help you!

If you would like further details then please give Zoe Bell a call or drop her an email.

Contact: Zoe Bell
Telephone: 07980 771872
Email Address: zoecbell@outlook.com
Website: Open Website

New scheme to encourage investment in superfast broadband

A new scheme for small to medium sized businesses is being piloted in the Warwickshire area to encourage commercial investment in superfast fibre broadband.
The Government’s Local Full Fibre Networks Programme aims to support projects across the UK that will stimulate more commercial investment in full fibre, the “gold standard” of fast and reliable broadband. Coventry and Warwickshire is one of the test regions for the scheme. The programme will see local companies will be offered vouchers (worth between £500 and £3000 each) by broadband suppliers to pay for gigabit capable connections.
More information is available on the website below.

Website: Open Website

NFU Mutual launch new insurance for Smallholders

Smallholdings are an essential piece of the patchwork that makes up our great countryside and are vital to the wellbeing of the farming scene. As the leading rural insurer, NFU Mutual has launched a new insurance that insures smallholders managing small flocks or herds, right through to individuals and families who are keen to get involved in small scale farming. Visit the website to contact your local agent.

Website: Open Website

New Defra code of practice for species control

The “Species Control Provisions: Code of Practice for England” sets out how the provisions for species control agreements and orders contained in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 should be applied by environmental authorities. These powers ensure that, in appropriate circumstances, landowners take action on invasive non-native species or permit others to enter the land and carry out those operations, to prevent their establishment and spread.
For further information please use the link below.

Website: Open Website

Get pelletwise

The Metaldehyde Stewardship Group has produce “A guide to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and slug control”.
To view the guide use the link below.

Website: Open Website

Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation

The Department for Transport has proposed the crop cap be set at 4% in 2018, decreasing incrementally until it reaches 2% by 2032. The NFU is calling for the cap, which governs the volume of crop-based biofuels allowed to be used on UK roads, to be set at the maximum possible level of 7%. Many other EU member states have opted for 7% – as per set out in the EU directive, leaving UK arable farmers at a competitive disadvantage.

Parish council help required for broadband rollout

CSW Broadband are looking to work even more closely with parish councils. What they would like to know now is what would parish councils find most helpful to assist you in informing your residents about the broadband rollout and answering their questions?
Please drop an email to broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk, and the team will develop a plan that incorporates as many of your suggestions as possible.

Marketing for plant based substances

The EU Court of Justice has confirmed a ban on products of a ‘purely plant-based substance’ using the term milk, cream, butter, cheese or yoghurt in their marketing. There are some allowances, including coconut milk and ice cream, but the rule applies to all products not on the list of exceptions, such as soya and tofu.

New Red Tractor Stickers Launched

Red Tractor has teamed up with Massey Ferguson to print 15,000 trailer stickers to help farmers spread the positive message of UK Farm Assurance. The stickers bear the slogans “Great Food, Great Farming” and “Trust the Tractor”.
The stickers are free of charge to Red Tractor members.

Website: Open Website

Co-op commits to British farming

Announced last September, a promise to source fresh lamb and bacon from British only sources by the Co-op came into effect this week. This now means that the Co-op sources 100% British beef, chicken, ham, pork, duck and turkey and uses only British meat in all sausages and in its own-label chilled ready meals, pies and sandwiches (with the exception of continental varieties in ready meals and sandwiches). This bold move places farming right at the centre of their business and has been widely congratulated by the industry

A new platform for smart farming

The Horizon 2020 thematic network smart AKIS has recently launched a free online platform providing a number of tools to facilitate and promote the use of smart farming technologies.
The platform is intended for farmers, advisory services, agriculture consultants, and farming equipment providers. It includes a database of the latest technologies already available on the market or emerging from research projects. Additionally, it provides guidance, advice and a space for exchange on the use these new technologies.

Website: Open Website

Open Water – chose your water supplier

From 1 April 2017, farms and other eligible business customers in England will be able to choose their supplier of water and waste water retail services.
Businesses which are eligible to switch supplier can choose to shop around and switch to a new retail service provider for water and wastewater services; negotiate a new price and service package with their existing retailer, or a new retailer; or stay with their current retail service provider, accepting default price and service terms.

Contact: None
Telephone: None
Email Address: None
Website: Open Website

Call for vigilance for Sweet Chestnut Blight

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) are reminding woodland managers, tree professionals and the plant trade to be vigilant over the coming months for sweet chestnut blight, caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica.  Suspected cases in trees and woodland should be reported to the Commission with Tree Alert. Suspected cases in chestnut plants moving in trade, such as in garden centres and nurseries, must be reported to APHA’s Plant Health & Seeds Inspectorate (PHSI) on 01904 405138 or planthealth.info@apha.gsi.gov.uk.

Telephone: 01904 405138

New website about plant pests

A new website to improve access to information about plant pests and diseases has been launched by Defra.
The Plant Health Portal is already making it easier for plant health professionals to share and use vital information on plant pests and diseases, unlocking the power of data to better assess threats and determine action to tackle them.
The site is still under development, and has been launched in ‘beta’ form to enable users to give feedback to inform further improvements. There are plans to add more data and introduce further refinements to the site’s search functions during this second phase. Users are encouraged to send feedback on the site to Defra.

Website: Open Website

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Contact Us

The Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC
c/o Pleasance Farm
Kenilworth
Warwickshire
CV8 1PR

Email: info@ruralhub.org.uk

Registration No: 7026157

Registered office: 23 West Bar Street, Banbury, OX16 9SA

Hub Chairman

Henry Lucas
E: henrylucas76@gmail.com

Rural Hub Co-ordinator

Jane Hampson
E: info@ruralhub.org.uk

Tel: 07780 159291

Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

Henry Lucas (Hub Chairman)
Graham Collier (Hub Deputy Chairman)
Paul Rice
Carrie Robbins
Alexandra Robinson
James Walton

 

Hub Steering Group Members

Luke Ryder, NFU
Mark Dickin, Ellacotts Accountants
Susan Schlee, S2M Marketing
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
Mark Meadows, Tithe Farm
Alexandra Robinson, Wright Hassall LLP
Bob Slater, Slater Farm Management Services
Chris Tallis, Tallis Amos Group
Jef Tuyn, Agricultural Consultant
Matt Willmott, King's Seeds
Jon Slee, Abbey Farm

Disclaimer

The Warwickshire Rural Hub accepts no liability for any direct, indirect or consequential loss arising from any action taken in reliance on the information contained on this website.

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