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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Recent Developments

Environment Agency adopts more flexible approach to water abstraction during dry weather

The Environment Agency is supporting farmers dealing with the pressures of the hot, dry weather by allowing a more flexible approach to water abstraction.

You can read the guidance note here.

RPA guidance on rural payment schemes in hot weather

The RPA has published guidance for farmers facing difficulties meeting requirements for rural grant and payment schemes due to the recent hot and dry weather.

You can access the guidance here.

 

Newcastle Disease risk is increased to medium

Defra has updated their outbreak assessment for Newcastle Disease (ND) to reflect the increase in outbreaks across Europe.

The risk level for an incursion of ND in poultry in the UK has increased to medium. There have been several outbreaks in Belgium in both commercial and ‘smallholder’ flocks.

Poultry keepers are reminded of the need to review biosecurity and heighten if necessary to reflect the increased risk of disease.

Use of AstroKerb on Rape

Due to the shortage of cereal straw this year some growers are baling rape straw instead of chopping it.     Please be aware that if AstroKerb was used as a herbicide on the rape in the autumn/winter the straw cannot be used as animal bedding.  

Important message from the Environment Agency regarding slurry application

The Environment Agency have urged farmers to be particularly vigilant and to inspect their fields thoroughly before applying slurry to their land. The prolonged hot weather has left many fields with extensive surface cracks.

If care isn’t taken significant pollution could be caused as these cracks can act as a rapid pathway for slurry to enter land drains. Slurry could pollute watercourses directly if application rates are too high or could remain in the land drains after spreading only to be flushed out during wet weather at a later date causing significant pollution.

The recently introduced Reduction and Prevention of Agricultural Diffuse Pollution (England) Regulations 2018, more commonly referred to as the “Farming Rules for Water” specify that:

“a land manager must ensure that, for each application of organic manure or manufactured fertiliser to agricultural land, the application is planned so that it does not give rise to a significant risk of agricultural diffuse pollution, and that it takes into account the weather conditions and forecasts for that land at the time of the application”.

Hot weather advice from Animal and Plant Health

Animal and Plant Health has issued an advice sheet on potential risk to livestock health and welfare in the current hot weather conditions.  You can download the advice sheet below.

infonote-hotweather-july18

Job opportunity with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust

Dunsmore Living Landscape Scheme Manager
Salary: £28,000 pa + mileage costs + contributory pension scheme 4.5%
Fixed- term contract to 31st January 2021
Full time: 35 hours per week. (The post will involve some evening and weekend working, for which time off in lieu will be given)
Based at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve, near Coventry, plus travel across landscape area

Are you looking for a new challenge? Want to make your mark at a landscape scale? An excellent opportunity has arisen in Warwickshire to lead on a significant landscape habitat restoration and people engagement scheme.

For further information please visit this website.  Closing date for applications is 28 August.

Environment Agency statement on current dry weather conditions

Paul Hickey, head of water resources, Environment Agency has said:

“Over two very dry months, we have seen a rapid decline in reservoir levels in the North West and we support the announcement by United Utilities to manage water supplies by introducing household restrictions.

“Across the rest of England, most groundwater supplies are at healthy levels and water companies have enough water to maintain supplies if resources are managed properly.

“Many rivers around the country have dropped to lower levels than normal for this time of year, which can be damaging to wildlife. We have robust plans in place to respond to these pressures and have stepped up our incident response as well as regulation of those abstracting water to ensure the environment is protected.

“We are meeting with affected groups including farmers to provide practical advice about conserving water and planning for prolonged dry weather. We encourage everyone to use water wisely to conserve supplies and protect the environment.”

Environment Agency data shows that groundwater supplies are normal/above for the time of year, although the majority of river flows are below average. Soil moisture deficits have developed and soils are significantly drier than average for the time of year.

Beware of cold callers

The NFU has received reports of animal rights activists, claiming to be from the NFU, cold-calling farms to gain more information about the badger cull.   If you are at all concerned about calls of this nature, please contact the regional NFU office or your county or TB adviser.

Be on the lookout for Ash dieback

Last year we started to see more significant impacts of the Ash dieback disease in some parts of the UK. Foresters and landowners are asked to continue to be vigilant for signs of infection, and to regularly inspect their ash trees. In particular, they should consider any safety concerns from the risk of falling branches from infected trees.

The Forestry Commission website provides advice and guidance on how to spot, report and manage the disease.

The Government does not encourage the felling of non-infected ash trees or infected trees which do not pose a danger to the public, other than during normal woodland management activities.

Website: https://www.forestry.gov.uk/ashdieback

Reporting of mains water interruptions

Some farmers have recently been affected by interruptions to mains water supply affecting livestock watering.

If you experience a supply issue report it to the Severn Trent water and sewerage emergencies number: 0800 783 4444 or via their website. This will enable all instances to be logged and actioned accordingly. Additional information can be found on the Water Plus website.

Contact number: 0800 783 4444
Website: https://www.water-plus.co.uk/help-and-support/water-and-wastewater/water-supply-issues

AHDB dairy beef calves project seeks views

AHDB is running a project to develop an evidence-base for optimal lifetime performance of beef calves from the dairy herd

The project is keen to hear from producers who supply and rear calves for the dairy-beef industry and has developed questionnaires aimed at dairy farmers and dairy-beef calf rearers.

You can find out more about the project on the link below.

Website: http://beefandlamb.ahdb.org.uk/research/animal-health-and-welfare-beef/best-practice-dairy-beef-calf-rearing/

Red Tractor beef and lamb standards change on 1 June

As of 1st June 2018 new Red Tractor Beef and Lamb standards, relating to antibiotic use on farm, are being introduced. These amendments reflect the industry’s commitment to being responsible users of antibiotics.

Members will be required to work with their vet to review health and performance data. This review includes looking at medicine records and prescription data that outlines total antibiotic use, to make recommendations as to where farms can use antibiotics as responsibly as possible.

Other changes include the use of Highest Priority Critically Important Antibiotics and recommendations for disease prevention strategies.

To find out more about all the Red Tractor Farm Standards go to the website below.

Website: https://assurance.redtractor.org.uk/standards

Calling all young farmers!

The NFU has launched a competition to find eight young farmers (aged 18-30 years) to represent British farming in the 2018 Lord Mayor’s Show, which takes place on Saturday 10th November in London.

The NFU will be joined by Massey Ferguson to support the Worshipful Company of Farmers in this year’s show. As an additional prize this year, Massey Ferguson is inviting one of the young farmers on a special trip to Beauvais in Northern France as a guest to tour the factory and enjoy an overnight stay.

The NFU is asking for nominations for young farmers, aged 18-30, who have made an outstanding contribution to the farming sector and who are passionate about the industry.

Full details and a nomination form can be found at the website below. Nominations close on Sunday 19th August.

Website: http://www.nfuonline.com/news/latest-news/calling-all-young-farmers/

Over 1/4 million people visit a farm during Open Farm Sunday

Initial estimates from organisers LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) indicate that over 270,000 people visited the 358 farms who opened their gates on Sunday 10 June, with 26% of these farms opening for the first time.

This brings the total number of visitors to a farm for LEAF Open Farm Sunday to over 2.2 million in the last 13 years demonstrating the significant impact the day has on connecting the public with farming.

12-week consultation on mandatory sheep carcase classification

Defra have released a 12 week consultation on the introduction of mandatory sheep carcase classification, price reporting and the publication of processing charges, such as insurance, classification and anti-mortem/post mortem inspection for all livestock categories. The consultation can be found on the Defra website.

Website: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changing-carcase-classification-and-price-reporting-in-abattoirs-in-England

Digital tracking scheme to be operational by 2019

Defra Secretary of State Michael Gove has announced that a digital tracking scheme for livestock will be operational by 2019. The Livestock Information Service will combine an animal’s lifetime movement records with management, veterinary medicine and assurance information. The aim is to provide valuable new details through the supply chain and proof of standards to shoppers and trading partners.

New EU Organic Regulation

Following five years of debate, MEPs have approved the new regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products.

The new EU law is intended to improve the quality of organic food in the EU and also help to address the needs of a fast-growing organic market. The regulation will now go to Council where it is expected to be signed off next month and it will enter into force in January 2021.

Call for information about bTB intervention controls

Defra has launched a call for evidence seeking information about interventions for bTB control. This is part of the bTB strategy review’s evidence gathering phase and will only consider topics included in the review’s terms of reference. The review is not assessing the current bTB strategy, but looking at what should be prioritised in the future.
Defra are asking for evidence regarding:
• research considering how to improve deployment of existing bTB control interventions
• potential new approaches and tools/technologies to deal with Btb
• approaches taken to control bTB in other countries
• work on human TB that might be relevant to the review
The deadline for responses is Thursday 31 May.
You can respond to the review on the link below.

Website: Open Website

Overpaid sugar beet levies

A Court of Justice of the European Union ruling has confirmed that sugar beet growers were historically overcharged by the EU Commission using a ‘flawed method’ for calculating the now discontinued levy.
Growers of sugar beet during 1999 and 2000 are entitled to a repayment of both the overpayment, and the interest accrued.
Growers will receive a form from British Sugar to compete to receive their repayment. Any grower who believes they are entitled to a refund and does not receive a letter is urged to contact the helpline British Sugar to apply for the repayment.
The refund, over £6 million in total, is split roughly equally between growers and British Sugar.

Telephone: 01733 422153

Plant nurseries to be covered by agricultural exemption for business rates

The Minister for Local Government has confirmed that plant nurseries will be covered under the agricultural exemption for business rates, in line with other agricultural businesses.
The Government will be bringing forward legislation later in the year so that these sites are not liable for a tax that could have a negative impact on the cost of farming and that this would include backdating all payments for those affected.

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

New animal tracking service to be launched in 2019

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced a new service that will give farmers and processors accurate information about animals and their movements, set to be operational from 2019.
Identifying and tracking animal movements via electronic IDs (initially dairy cows, cattle, sheep, pigs and goats) also means that the industry and government will be better placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.

Would you like to host an AHDB event?

AHDB are in the process of organising several events in the West Midlands this year and are looking for farmers to host them on-farm. The proposed events are as follows:
• Suckler breeding and fertility – focussing on cow health for fertility, breeding and AI (would ideally like someone who is using AI to host) (May)
• Controlling liver fluke in cattle with Liverpool University – focussing on fluke hotspots on farm and how to manage them (June)
• Cattle handling with Miriam Parker – a perfect handling system is not required, just one that works for that particular farm or someone who is looking to make changes to their own system (June)
• Breeding and fertility (sheep) – ideally someone who is using recorded rams (June, July, August)
• Better beef nutrition to reduce feed costs (Oct, Nov)
• Youngstock health, cattle – focussing on antimicrobial usage and vaccination (Sept, Oct, Nov)
Amy Fawcett, AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager West Midlands, would welcome a conversation with anyone who may be interested in hosting an event or has other suggestions for event topics.
AHDB’s selection team are also available to run beef or lamb selection for slaughter events.
Amy can be contacted on 01948 710638 or via the details below.

Telephone: 07805804806

Are you a rural business working in an off mains area of Warwickshire?

Then the Warwickshire Rural Community Council Energy Scheme may be for you. It is open to individuals and rural organisations alike. With nearly a third of households in Stratford on Avon District being off the mains gas network, saving on heating costs is a particular concern for people living and working in rural Warwickshire. Domestic heating is usually more expensive in rural areas as housing tends to be older and less energy-efficient and so fuel poverty is generally higher.
In 2012 WRCC set up an Energy buying syndicate to create collective purchasing power and keep prices at an affordable level for users.  Membership is open to all in Warwickshire – whether you’re an individual householder, a community group or a business – and it’s free to join.
Over the past 5 years WRCC has ordered over 3.5 million litres of kerosene and saved members over £180,000 against average prices quoted – and a huge £380,000 against the maximum prices quoted by local suppliers!
To find out more visit the website below.

Website: Open Website

Beware of fraudsters targeting farmers who receive subsidy payments

In the past, banks have warned that fraudsters pretending to be from their bank’s fraud department may try to target farmers who receive subsidy payments. Remember:
• Your bank will never ask you for your full online password
• Your bank will not ask you to make a payment over the phone using your online account.
• If you get a call from someone claiming to be from your bank (or any other organisation), make sure it’s genuine. End the call then wait 5 minutes and call them back on a number you know is correct (not a number they’ve given you).
• Never give your PIN and other passwords to a 3rd party even if you think you are speaking to your bank.

Future Farming Support

At this week’s Oxford Farming Conference the Secretary of State set out four areas where he wants to drive change for farming:
1. Developing a coherent policy on food, integrating the needs of agriculture businesses, other enterprises, consumers, public health and the environment.
2. Giving farmers and land managers time and the tools to adapt to the future, so as to avoid a precipitate cliff edge but also prepare properly for the changes which are coming.
3. Develop a new method of providing financial support for farmers which moves away from ‘subsidies for inefficiency’ to public money for public goods.
4. Ensure that natural capital thinking is built into the government’s approach towards land use and management, so as develop a truly sustainable future for our countryside.
A government consultation is expected in the spring.

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

Government publishes 25 year Environmental Plan

This week the Government published their long-awaited 25 year Environmental Plan. The plan sets out goals for improving the environment, within a generation, and leaving it in a better state. It details how government will work with communities and businesses to do this. It sets out what government will be doing over the next 25 years.
The Plan sits alongside two other important government strategies: the Industrial Strategy and the Clean Growth strategy.
Alongside the plan, also published are 3 detailed, technical annexes.
To access the plan please use the website link below.
If you want to receive updates on the 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment, please register as a stakeholder, using the link below.

Website: Open Website

Information on the new TB Advisory Service

The TB advisory service has been set up to enable cattle keepers to access specialist advice on building resilience to bovine tuberculosis (bTB). The service is fully-funded by Defra through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), and is available to farmers in the High Risk and Edge areas of England. Eligible farmers will receive bespoke advice on biosecurity and the risks associated with cattle movements and trading. Funding has been secured to provide on-farm advice visits to 2,400 businesses over a three year period, along with a telephone advice service for farmers with specific questions relating to bTB.
The service is being delivered by trained consultants from ADAS, Kingshay and Westpoint Farm Vets, overseen by a Technical Board comprising experts in the field of bTB. The consultants will be available to give advice on all aspects of TB, including badger ecology, biosecurity, building design and trading options. Where farmers are currently free of bTB, advice will focus on the steps available to protect from disease incursions. For farms under TB restrictions, advice on trading options will be available, both on and off the holding, together with measures to prevent repeated reinfection of cattle.
If any eligible farmers would like to register for the service please contact Holly Shearman to register some details including your CPH and SBI numbers. And if you would like to receive an on-farm Advice Visit, you will also need to sign and return a Privacy Notice before a visit can take place.
Farmers can use the TB Advisory service via email or telephone call and farm visits may be necessary depending on the nature of the query. Contact details are below.

Contact: Holly Shearman
Telephone: 01306 779 410
Email Address: info@tbas.org.uk
Website: Open Website

Beware of phishing email with Police branding

Warwickshire Police has been made aware of a phishing email that is using police branding to provoke responses.
The email says that the recipient is being summoned to court as a witness and asks them to follow a link, which could then lead to a virus or malware being placed on their computer.
For full information on the email please visit the link below.

Website: Open Website

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.
Zoe Bell and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust are applying for funding as part of the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund to form an environmental group in the Arden area of Warwickshire. This is a group just for farmers and land managers. Partner organisations will be supporting the project but it will be you that drives the direction of the project. The training events will focus on only what you want to know.
What is required:
Not very much, you will just need to
• Sign an agreement to say you want to be involved and supply us with a map of your holding
• Tell us what you are most interested in. What do you want to see more of on your farm?
• Come and share your experiences and learn about new ideas and management methods.
If you would like further details then please give Zoe a call or drop her an email.

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

Smart Farming Guide on launching a farming business

Launched in September during National Young Farmers’ Week, the YFC Smart Farming Guide is a new free business guide offering essential advice on how to get a farming business started. The collaborative project between NFYFC and Savills has produced an online resource for all YFCs to use. It was created in response to demand from young farmers who wanted more support for starting successful farming business ventures. As the industry faces huge changes post-Brexit, the Smart Farming Guide, supported by Defra, offers a one-stop shop for practical advice on starting, funding, protecting and growing a robust agri business. This mobile-friendly, online guide will be continually updated with information during a time of unprecedented change. The guide also helps members of Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) to plan and deliver business development competitions as part of their programme of activities for developing YFC members’ skills.
Highlights of the guide include:
• Case studies from successful farming entrepreneurs such as Chris Wildman from the Town End Farm Shop and Guy Watson from Riverford Organics.
• Advice on the types of finance available.
• Risk analysis and business protection advice.
• A resources section with links to wider business support.
Use the link below to access the guide.

Website: Open Website

Extension of EU derogation on labelling of free range eggs

European Commission has announced that the EU derogation allowing eggs from hens kept indoors due to AI outbreaks to be labelled free range will be extended from 12 to 16 weeks from 25 November.
An initial EU-wide standard from 2008 allowed egg producers to continue to market their products as free range even if their hens had no access to range for up to 12 weeks, but the 12-week derogation was considered too short in the face of the prolonged nature of the influenza outbreak in 2016. With the likelihood of further prolonged outbreaks of avian influenza in the future, and following discussions with member state authorities and industry stakeholders, the decision was taken to extend the derogation period.

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

ITC Business Support from the Chamber of Commerce

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has launched its new ICT Business Support service, funded through European Regional Development Funding and working in partnership with Warwickshire County Council. The Chamber will be providing a package of ICT support for SMEs (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) across Coventry and Warwickshire that includes specialist 1:1 advice, a range of masterclasses and workshops, and funding towards implementing Superfast Broadband.
SMEs across Coventry and Warwickshire can access a complete end-to-end service, aimed at businesses that are looking to effect transformational change through the use of technology and faster connectivity. The specialist team will be able to provide support on a range of ICT issues, including accessing “the cloud”, optimising your digital media and keeping yourself safe online. You may be struggling to understand which technologies are available, or just getting to grips with the jargon within the industry.
The Chamber’s specialist advisors can explain the benefits of new technologies and support businesses to take up superfast broadband by reducing the cost-barrier. The aim is to enable transformational change by assisting businesses to make the right choices for their business.
To help with this, a Connection Voucher is available that will offer match-funded grants to help the SME to actually implement the change and to take advantage of the new technologies. The voucher is to be used towards the cost of a complete end-to-end solution, including: a Superfast connection to the Internet; Networking within the business, either wireless or cabled, as appropriate; Equipment and software to implement transformational business.
Masterclasses – coming soon in 2018. The Chamber will deliver a range of workshops and masterclasses on topics such as Social Media, Online Marketing, Staying Safe Online and the impact Superfast Broadband connectivity can have on your businesses productivity and efficiency.
To find out more please call Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber.

Contact: None
Telephone: 02476 654 321
Email Address: None
Website: Open Website

Beware of rogue tarmac gangs

Farmers are warned to beware of rogue tarmac gangs targeting their premises. The gangs either door knock or more recently (and in a new twist to an old scam) phone the farm and claim they have some left over tarmac they want to get rid of. They imply that they would rather tip the tarmac on the farm driveway to cover a few potholes as a favour, rather than have to dispose of it. If the farmer agrees, the rogue gang arrive quickly, spread the tarmac and then demand thousands of pounds with menaces!
If you have been a victim or are approached and threatened please report to the police on 101 or 999 if immediately concerned for your safety.

Changes to how you can pay HMRC

HMRC are making some changes to the ways customers can make payments.
The pay at the Post Office service will be withdrawn from 15th December 2017 and from 13th January 2018, HMRC will no longer accept payment by personal credit card. Debit cards and corporate credit cards will continue to be accepted.
There are still many ways to pay including:
• Direct Debit
• Online or telephone banking (including Faster Payments, Bacs and CHAPS)
• Debit/Corporate Credit card online or by telephone.
These are more secure and will save you the time and expense of going to a post office or bank.

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

Sugar beet quotas come to an end

The sugar quota system – the last remaining production restrictions in the EU – came to an end on 30 September, after nearly 50 years. There are now no limits to production or to exports.
UK sugar consumption is around 2Mt, of which approximately 60% is supplied by home-grown sugar and the remainder supplied by imported cane and beet sugar form the EU and the rest of the world.

Contact: None
Telephone: None
Email Address: None
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

Organic protein for pigs and poultry

Stakeholders across the industry are urging the European Commission to extend two derogations for organic pig and poultry which are coming to an end on December 31, 2017.
Due to tight supplies of organic proteins, farmers are currently allowed to feed their pig and poultry up to 5% non-organic protein. Where organically-reared pullets are not available, they are also allowed to buy in pullets of up to 18 weeks old, provided they have been managed under the organic feed and veterinary standard. Without Commission intervention, these derogations will revert back to original regulation which requires a 100% organic diet.

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.

Could you be a Cyber Champion?

The Warwickshire County Council Cyber Crime Advisers are offering the opportunity to receive free training to help spread awareness of cyber crime.
Cyber Champions are trained so they can spread awareness of cyber crime, how to prevent it and where to get support and report such issues. Cyber Champions will then be in a better position to protect themselves, friends, family and community members. You don’t have to have any prior knowledge of IT or the internet to be a Cyber Champion.
If you are interested in finding out more please email Sam Slemensek.

Agriculture is re-introduced in commercial victimisation survey

Businesses randomly selected to take part in this survey, run by the Home Office with independent researchers Ipsos Mori, will receive a letter and a subsequent phone call between September and December 2017 to conduct an interview. Agriculture has been reintroduced as part of the survey, after successful efforts from the NFU, and it is another opportunity to make Government and the Home Office aware of the extent rural crime affects farm businesses. The results are used to monitor crime trends, identify what actions need to be taken to reduce crime and find out what support would be most helpful to farm businesses

EA Charging Regime

The Environment Agency has embarked on a comprehensive review of its charging regime. It aims to simplify fees across a range of different schemes and to fully recover costs. Schemes within scope include environmental permitting for waste activities and IPPC, flood risk and the ‘definition of waste’ panel. Also within scope is the extent to which agency provide free advice and the identification of new, chargeable services. The agency will begin informal discussions in the autumn before a full consultation. The expectation is that any changes to the charging schemes will take effect from April 2018.

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

Free soil testing

Soilessentials and The James Hutton Institute are still looking for fields to sample FOC throughout many counties in England and Wales.
Participating farmers will receive information on pH, P, K, Mg, Ca, Na, %C and free living nematodes for free. They are looking for: Fields that are prone to flooding; Fields that have had AD digestate applied; Potatoes/Root crops/Veg; Winter and spring combinable crops.
For further information call SoilEssentials.

Contact: Alison Easson
Telephone: 01356 650459 or 07787 292169

Report a wildlife crime anonymously

Warwickshire Wildlife Watchers has added a form to their website which will allow the reporting of a wildlife crime to take place anonymously.
Lamping without permission, hare coursing, persecution of badgers, bats and birds of prey and are examples of incidents which are against the law.
Visit the website below if you want to report a wildlife crime.

Website: Open Website

Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit looking for farmers

The Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit is looking for farmers to be involved in their new and exciting project, which aims to quantify which management practices work best to improve carbon storage in soil.
The project, which has been kindly funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, along with support from FCCT’s recent crowdfunding campaign, will allow for much needed data to be collected on soil carbon sequestration whilst at the same time enabling farmers to play a positive role in the development of effective climate change mitigation mechanisms.
Sequestering (or storing) carbon in farm soils, is a win-win not just for farmers, but for society and the planet. By building organic matter (and carbon) levels within soils, it is possible to improve water holding capacity, biological activity, nutrient cycling, soil structure and aggregate stability, all which have benefits to the farm business.

Contact: Becky Wilson
Telephone: 01579 372376

Main reasons for cross compliance failure are published

NFU have put together some information on the main reasons for cross compliance failures in 2016, after the RPA released statistics from inspections.
The figures show that the amount of breaches in 2016 came to a total of 3,141. This total includes the additional inspections that were carried out, due to the number of failures found in previous years for SMR 4 (Nitrate Vulnerable Zones) and SMR 7 (Cattle ID). The total number of failures is a decrease on 2015 (3801 failures in 2015).
The top breach of cross compliance in 2016 was SMR 4TB – Food & Feed Law, which was also the top breach in 2015. The main reason was failure to ensure that all eligible animals conformed to the national herd health surveillance and testing intervals for TB.
SMR 7 Cattle ID & registration came next with 27% of the total failures in 2016. This is a slight increase compared with 2015 (847 compared with 829 in 2015). The main reasons were that movement details were not recorded or incorrectly recorded, death of an animal not recorded, animals not found in the farm records, missing tags haven’t been replaced within 28 days, animals present but without passport/CoR/CPP 35 or incorrect date of birth.

Consider registering a domain name for your business if you don’t have a website

Online criminals are using a fake website scam to trick customers into paying money for goods that are never received. They do this by setting up a website using the name of a genuine business that does not have a website. The customer then thinks they are purchasing online goods from a genuine business but never receives the goods that they pay for.
If you are a business that does not have a website consider registering the domain name of your company to ensure that you do not fall victim to this scam.

Tips for reducing fire risk

Every year in the UK, 1,700 farm buildings and 66,000 acres of grassland are destroyed by fire.
Tips to consider for reducing fire risk:
• Hay and straw should be removed from fields as soon as possible after harvesting
• Hay and straw should be stored separately from other buildings, particularly those housing fuels, agrochemicals and machinery in stacks of reasonable size, spaced at least 10 metres apart separately from livestock housing
• Petrol, diesel and other fuels should be stored in secure areas and storage tank outlets should be padlocked.
• Fertilisers and pesticides should be kept under lock and key. The Health & Safety Executive can provide further advice on the storage and transportation of fertilisers, particularly ammonium nitrate.
• Rubbish should be disposed of safely and on a regular basis
Warwickshire Fire and Rescue state that it is very important to ensure that the property name whether a farm, house or business is clearly shown at the entrance so emergency services can locate your property as quickly as possible.

Beware of waste materials in animal bedding

During routine inspections the Environment Agency has discovered instances where waste materials, such as plasterboard and wood contaminated with plastics, metals and other hazardous material have been used as animal bedding on farms. This may be harmful to livestock, the environment, is illegal and can be very expensive to clean up.
Farmers should be present during the delivery of waste materials to their farm. Ensure that simple checks are made on whether the waste is to the same specification as you agreed and that it is free from contaminants. Wrongly described waste, contaminated waste or waste that is not allowed under a U8 exemption should be rejected. For more information please contact the Environment Agency.

Wyre Forest Local Planning Consultation

Wyre Forest District Council is currently consulting on a “Preferred Options” document for their local plan. This document identifies two potential approaches to how Wyre Forest District might meet its development requirements in the period up to 2034 along with proposed strategic, development management and allocations policies. The full document is available on the website below.

Telephone: 01562 732928
Website: Open Website

Parish council help required for broadband rollout

CSW Broadband are looking to work even more closely with parish councils from the autumn. 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? Some of the things that the CSW Broadband team are already doing include:
• Producing a range of articles (monthly) that can be used for newsletters and on websites
• Sending out monthly e-newsletter to everybody who is registered onto the project system. Please register your details as soon as possible, since this brings additional benefits
• Once work starts in an area the team will email everyone who is registered onto the system to let them know what is happening
• Once the service actually goes live CSW Broadband will email everyone who is registered onto the system to tell them that they can order a service from an ISP of their choice, with advice on how to do this
• Producing flyers to advise people when work is starting, and again when the system goes live (but the team do need help to get these delivered!)
What would help you, as a parish council, to keep your residents informed about the broadband rollout?
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.

The Forsyth Lapwing Challenge Cup 2017

Priors Hardwick farmer, Hugh Darbishire, has won the prestigious Forsyth Lapwing Challenge Cup for the second year running. The cup was presented by Anthony Forsyth at a Syngenta barbeque and plot trials event at Chesterton Fields Farm on 3 July 2017.
Organised by The Warwickshire Rural Hub and sponsored by Syngenta, the award is given to the Warwickshire farm judged to be attaining the optimal balance of profitable farming alongside environmental conservation and ecological enhancement.
With more farms entering than ever before this year, the two other short-listed finalists were Rebecca Sunang-Joret of Hodnell Manor, Ladbroke and Roger Mann of Norton Lindsey.
Hugh Darbishire successfully incorporated a range wildflower margins rich in pollen and nectar, buffer strips, wild bird cover and winter food habitats, alongside his arable cropping and grassland for the sheep enterprise on his 180 hectare (450 acre) Hill Farm at Priors Hardwick.
Over 10% of the farm is dedicated to HLS (Higher Level Stewardship) management of environmental areas.
“We are looking to protect the existing environmental features that we have, including ridge and furrow pasture dating back to medieval times and old Victorian hay meadows. But there are always ways to enhance areas or change the way that we manage things that can further enhance the ecological value, without impinging on the way that we can farm profitably,” he said.
Ponds have been restored, hedgerows planted and pockets of woodland created – all aspects that provide a diverse habitat for wildlife, but have also enhanced the farming practices. Hugh is extremely clear that the sustainability of the farm is dependent on economic viability of the business, alongside the long-term management of soils and the environment.
“We aim to farm the areas that suit modern practices in a commercial way, and the areas that don’t suit it are managed more traditionally and extensively farmed. It all seems far more harmonious.” Hugh recently opened his farm as part of Open Farm Sunday, to demonstrate his environmental work to the wider public.
Belinda Bailey, Syngenta Environmental Initiatives Manager and judge of the Forsyth Lapwing Challenge Cup, highlighted that all the entrants to this year’s competition had demonstrated that commercial farmland can be proactively managed to enhance the environment, alongside productive sustainable intensive agriculture.
“There are many ways that ecological features, such as pollen and nectar margins or wild bird food mixes, can add enormously to the diversity of wildlife on the farm, as well as protecting soils and water resources with a truly multi-functional landscape,” she said. “In the current agri-environment system they can also make a positive contribution to overall farm profitability and long-term sustainability.”
The Forsyth Lapwing Challenge Cup, originated in 1983, has been resurrected by the Warwickshire Rural Hub after a gap of several years. The winners received Syngenta Operation Pollinator seed mixes, for annual wildflower pollen and nectar habitats and Bees ‘N Seeds mix to encourage pollinating insects and overwinter wild birds.

Contact: Jane Hampson
Telephone: None
Email Address: info@ruralhub.org.uk
Website: Open Website

NFU and the Next Generation Forum

Following a series of political landmark events there has been a surge of interest in the NFU Next Generation Forum. The form comprises young farmers between the ages of 25 and 40 years across all sectors and all regions. Its focus in on appraising how the next generation get involved with the industry and providing a perspective on the three main areas that affect young farmers: access to land and finance, financial risk management and developing business knowledge.
If you are interested in learning more or getting involved please email Rohit Kaushish.

NFU launches Young Producer’s Scheme

The Livestock team at the NFU is launching a Young Producer’s Scheme to help young farmers understand the organisation and become involved with its policy process.
If you are a beef or lamb producer aged between 25 and 40 years old and would like to find out more you can register to attend the launch event on 5 September by emailing the livestock team.

Contact: None
Telephone: None
Website: Open Website

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.

Be a #wifisavvy business

Warwickshire County Council’s Community Safety Team and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner recently asked Warwickshire businesses and residents if they were #wifisavvy as part of Safer Internet Day 2017.
The #wifisavvy campaign asked residents to think about how they access free wifi connections when they are out and about in the county. The scheme was piloted in Warwick and was a resounding success. It saw businesses that offer free wifi displaying posters with a commitment to their customers that:
They have changed the admin password of their router from its default setting;
They have disabled remote management to the router completely;
They are committed to using reliable encryption (WPA2 as minimum); and
They ensure that their router is regularly updated with the latest software.
In addition to this, all customers were advised:
To be aware of their surroundings, to make sure no one is watching them type when using wifi in public locations;
To get the correct Identification for public wifi to ensure that they do not inadvertently access spoofed or insecure wifi connections;
To keep their internet security up-to-date and to always use a firewall; and
To avoid using free, public wifi to do things like personal banking or online shopping.
A number of cafés, pubs and business centres in Warwick are already involved in the scheme.
The campaign is now being rolled out across the County and the team are asking businesses that offer wifi to look at how this is managed and get involved with the campaign.

NFU Dairy Hub page

The NFU has establish a new “Dairy Hub” page on its website to set the record straight about inaccurate and negative stories regarding the dairy industry which have recently appeared in the press.
To visit the page please use the link below.

Website: Open Website

Request for businesses to remain vigilent

Following a spate of robberies in Kenilworth and South Warwickshire, Warwickshire Police has issued a number of alerts in relation to incidents at business premises in recent days. A request to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to the Police on 101 has been issued.  If you’d like to sign up to the Warwickshire Police Community Messaging Service please visit the website below.

Website: Open Website

Seven out of eight farmers voluntarily manage their land for the environment

According to a survey by the Campaign for the Farmed Environment seven out of eight farmers voluntarily manage their land for the benefit of the environment whilst farming productively. In 2015/16 nearly 10,000 hectares were farmed under voluntary CFE measures. Farmers have also put up 17,343 metres of fencing to keep stock out of watercourses, preventing bank erosion and improving water quality.

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

Cyber Safety Advice

In the light of the recent cyber attacks on the NHS Warwickshire County Council has produced some cyber safety advice for businesses.
To read the advice in full please use the link below.

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

Seed pollinator mixes from CFE

Campaign for the Farmed Environment discounted Operation Pollinator seed mixes are back for another year. They are offering an annual wildflower mix (£35/pack to cover up to a hectare) and a Bees & Seeds mix (wild bird seed mix and later season pollen and nectar) at £50/pack. Get in touch with CFE if you’d like a voucher code and then you can order directly from Kings.

Email Address: cfe@nfu.org.uk

New YouTube videos to help businesses avoid cyber crime

A new YouTube Channel has recently been launched which is specifically aimed at businesses. The Channel houses an array of short, useful videos covering cyber crime related topics.
Some of the video topics include Ransomware, Phishing Emails and Password Management. If you’d like to view the videos or look at what other topics are covered visit the YouTube Channel below.

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

Scene it. Herd it. A new Crimestoppers campaign

Theft of livestock, farm tools, oil, diesel, quad bikes, trailers and burglaries from farm buildings remain top targets of thieves in the Warwickshire countryside, prompting independent charity Crimestoppers to launch a new campaign tackling rural crime across the county.
It’s estimated that rural crime costs at least £750,000 in Warwickshire – a rise of 16 per cent from the previous year (2015) – and over £42 million nationally.
There has been a sharp increase in the theft of expensive tractors and recent intelligence suggests that organised criminals are specifically targeting British farms and machinery dealers. The problem affects communities, businesses, farmers and manufacturers.
Crimestoppers is working closely with agencies such as NFU Mutal, Horse Watch, and Rural Watch to spread the word that there is a safe, anonymous way to report crime.
Scene it. Herd it. Speak up about it anonymously.

Contact: None
Telephone: 0800 555 111
Email Address: None
Website: Open Website

Farming unions call for delay on digital tax scheme for farmers

The UK’s four farming unions are calling on Government to delay the new Making Tax Digital scheme for farm businesses. They fear that the scheduled implementation will be inaccessible for many farm businesses and difficult to implement properly.
The complex scheme requires access to digital infrastructure that is not available in many rural areas, as 5% of the population does not have adequate access to broadband – many of those people are farmers.
The Unions believe that farmers will have considerable difficulty due to the complexity of modern farm businesses, two-thirds of which run diversified enterprises, requiring different accounting and tax adjustments and potentially separate income and expenditure reporting. In addition to this, there is a lack of suitable and registered software that is compliant with the proposed measures. Farming’s seasonality compounds this, meaning that quarterly tax returns provide little benefit to HMRC or farmers.

Beware of storage scam

Following recent increases in fly-tipping there have been a number of incidents across the country where farmers have been paid cash to store material, for example road planings. Farmers are then discovering wrapped bails of landfill refuse stored instead, often in very large quantities and facing an equally large bill to clear the rubbish up. Please be aware of this and contact the police on 101 if you receive such requests for ‘storage’.

Survey for dairy farmers on EU labour

Much of the Brexit talk about EU labour has focused on the horticultural sector, however feedback from recent dairy meetings has been that is also an issue for many dairy farmers. Currently the NFU has little data on labour in the dairy sector, so to help strengthen their lobbying position it is running a survey which all dairy farmers are urged to complete by the end of April. The survey can be found at the link below.

Contact: None
Telephone: None
Email Address: None
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. Customers supplied by water companies based in Wales (Dee Valley, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water) will be eligible only if they use 50 million litres of water per year).
Retail services include billing and meter reading, and the handling of customer queries and complaints.
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

Are you able to receive super fast Broadband, but don’t yet know it?

CSW Broadband have been rolling out fibre broadband across Warwickshire and Solihull. Over 57,000 properties are now able to connect to the new network, and to buy superfast broadband from a wide range of Internet Service Providers.
Because the project is reaching out to some of the most rural (and therefore most difficult) areas, different technologies are coming into play. So, residents and businesses may have thought that they were excluded from the rollout because they are in very remote locations, or because they are connected directly to the local exchange.
The new technologies enable CSW Broadband to reach even these areas, and the project team are urging everyone to see if superfast broadband is already available, or if it is planned by the end of 2019.
In the first instance, to see if superfast broadband is planned in your area by the end of 2019 go to the unique property-level checker. For the full list of areas which have been announced to date, please check the CSW Broadband Rolling 12-Month Plan. If you are not sure which structure you are currently connected to then you will need to check the BT DSL Checker. There is also a useful page on the project website which explains how to use the BT Line Checker and how to interpret the results.
If you are not included in the current rollout plans, then don’t despair. CSW Broadband are currently out to tender for up to £20m additional coverage, and should be able to map the results of the procurement by the autumn. If you register your details the team will keep you up to date with what is happening in your area.
Visit the website below to access all the resources mentioned above.

Website: Open Website

Schmallenberg Virus

Livestock producers across the country are being urged to submit lambs with suspected Schmallenberg virus (SBV) for post-mortem examination as the number of confirmed cases continues to grow. Lambing flocks across the country have experienced higher than normal losses from deformed lambs. Early calving herds have also experienced calves affected with congenital defects. Farmers and vets need to be vigilant through the lambing and calving period. It is very important that, if producers encounter lambs or calves with deformities, they contact their vets so post-mortem examination can be carried out to establish whether Schmallenberg is the cause.
When APHA suspects SBV they will fund the testing for SBV. Test results, whether negative or positive, allow you to confirm or rule out specific disease issues in that animal and potentially in the wider herd/flock, so there is value to the individual farm in investigation. There is more information on SBV cases in lambs and calves confirmed by APHA in England and Wales during December 2016 and January 2017, and about the arrangements for SBV testing on the APHA Vet Gateway website

Website: Open Website

Countryside Stewardship Online

Applicants for Countryside Stewardship hedgerows and boundaries grants and woodland management plan grants can now apply online through the Rural Payments service. The online service allows those applying to log on at a time that suits them and applications can be saved and completed at their convenience. The online service ensures only eligible fields are included. Customers who already apply for Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) online should find submitting an online application familiar and the service easy to use. The online service will be extended in April 2017, when customers will be able to submit their Countryside Stewardship annual revenue claims and capital claims online. Support is available from Natural England via the Rural Payments helpline.

Telephone: 03000 200 301

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.
The appeal follows confirmation of the disease in sweet chestnut trees in woodland in Devon.
Tree and woodland owners, plant traders and tree professionals everywhere are being asked o inspect their sweet chestnut trees regularly and report any suspicious symptoms.
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

Feedback about your voluntary environmental management

NFU members are being asked to take part in an important record of the voluntary environmental management carried out on farms across England.
This year the Campaign for the Farmed Environment will be funding a survey to record voluntary measures by farmers. To take part in the survey visit the link below.

Website: Open Website

Free on-line training courses on a huge range of subjects

Future Learn is an on-line portal that offers free of charge training courses in a huge range of subjects including the environment and business management. The courses are run by leading universities and specialist organisations from the UK and further afield and typically require a commitment of approximately 4 hours/week for 3 – 6 weeks, all from the comfort of your own home. At the end of the course there is opportunity to purchase a certificate at the end of the course.
To view the range of courses and register your interest visit the website below.

Website: Open Website

FREE Business Support for Social Enterprise

Coventry and Warwickshire CDA offer FREE hands-on support to help develop new or existing Social Enterprises with Legal Formations i.e. Not for profit or CIC, Business Planning, Income Generation & Grant Funding etc.
To book an advice session or for more information ring 024 7663 3911 email info@cwcda.co.uk website www.cwcda.co.uk
This project is part of The Warwickshire Transformation Fund and Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programmes and eligibility criterion applies

Telephone: 024 7663 3911
Email Address: info@cwcda.co.uk
Website: Open Website

Deadweight Market Transparency – Beef and Lamb

The NFU needs your help…
Some producers are still struggling to gain clear information on pricing specs and payment grids from the processors they supply. The NFU livestock team is re-running the market transparency project, and we need your help!
We have seen changes in:
– Variation in cattle dressing specs
– Payment grids
– Weighing and grading specification
– Deductions relating to movements, residencies, max carcase weights and breed
– Rounding down
– Hot-cold rebate issues
With uncertainties within the current payment systems, we believe the time is right to revisit the report. We intend to publish the results in November 2016.
If you finish beef or lamb deadweight, we would like to hear from you.
We are looking to talk to members and receive as many payments grids and kill sheets from as many producers as possible. We would also be interested in your experiences regarding VIA grading. Please note, this information will be completely confidential and anonymised.
Please get in contact with a member of the NFU Livestock Team:
John Royle or Tom Dracup Telephone: 02476 858 836, Mobile: 07795 597487, Email: tom.dracup@nfu.org.uk

Is there a future for the small family farm in the UK?

A major new independent study commissioned by The Prince‟s Countryside Fund into the future of small family farms across the UK has been launched.
Over the last two or three decades, small family farms have experienced profound change. The report set out to explore the future for these farms by identifying the pace of change, investigating ways in which they might improve performance and viability as well as putting forward proposals for improvements to farm management, adjusting policies and bringing in new blood.
Overseen by Professor Michael Winter, a rural policy specialist and rural social scientist at the University of Exeter, the report revealed a complex pattern of change with the number of farms declining by half and showed many smaller farms had been consolidated into expanding larger farms.
One of the largest risks was identified as farm succession. Without the correct retirement planning and restructuring in place, it is claimed it will make it more difficult for the „older generation to step back‟, yet it confirms that the „most profitable farms are those most likely to have a successor, regardless of size‟.
The full report produced by The University of Exeter and its recommendations is available to download from The Prince’s Countryside Fund website:
www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk/
Later this month, The Prince‟s Countryside Fund will be announcing a new programme of support in response to the findings of the report.

LEADER Funding for North Warwickshire, Hinckley & Bosworth

North Warwickshire and Hinckley and Bosworth LEADER Programme
Helping local rural businesses grow
Farming Productivity Grants
For farmers who are looking to invest in innovative business practices and new technologies to help them become more sustainable and productive. Grants between £2,500 – £25,000 will support three types of projects:
• a project to improve the overall performance and sustainability of an agricultural holding;
• an investment to support animal health and welfare improvements;
• or the processing, marketing and/or development of agricultural products.
Micro and Small Enterprise Grants
Grants of between £4,000 – £25,000 are available for businesses with under 50 employees including new businesses and social enterprises who aim to deliver a project that will have an impact on the local rural economy. This can include the creation of new jobs, increased turnover, creation of new products or use of new technologies.
Eligible activity includes:
• construction costs or establishment costs for workshops, factories, premises and facilities;
• purchasing equipment (not consumables);
• and setting up an I.T. business
Forestry Productivity Grants
Grants between £2,500 – £25,000 for private forestry holdings and micro, small or medium-sized forestry contracting businesses that aim to deliver permanent new supply chains and jobs that, at the same time, restore regular management to local woods and encourage a greater degree of added value to the timber output. Eligible activity includes:
• Investments in machinery and equipment to help the production, extraction, mobilising, processing and marketing of timber, non-timber forest products (including wild venison) and new forestry technologies;
• developing wood-fuel supply chains
• and transportation
Contact the LEADER Programme Team
Telephone: 01827 719 356
Email: leaderproject@northwarks.gov.uk
Facebook: /NWHBLEADER
Website: www.englandsruralheart.org

Register to be notified when superfast broadband is available

The extension of the fibre broadband network through the CSW Broadband project is going well, with many communities that could never have hoped to achieve superfast speeds under the commercial providers’ programmes now connected to the information superhighway.
One of the biggest challenges for the project team is keeping people informed of what is happening in their particular area. CSW Broadband has the facility to record details, including email addresses, street addresses and landline telephone numbers, and with this information they are able to contact residents and businesses to let them know when their local infrastructure is due for upgrade and, more importantly, when the faster broadband is actually available and ready to be ordered through an Internet Service Provider.
It may be that you receive the CSW Broadband newsletter, but they don’t have your full contact details and so are unable to link your line to specific telecoms structures – and without this information it is impossible to know when you will benefit from the upgrades. All residents are therefore strongly urged to register their details with the project by completing the form at: www.cswbroadband.org.uk/register
The site also contains a wealth of information about the rollout of superfast broadband, along with a checker map that goes right down to property level!
Register today to be kept informed of when faster broadband is available

Get advice on pesticide safety

April is the beginning of the sowing and spraying season and these activities present their own safety risks. If you are using pesticides check the Health and Safety Executive’s code of practice for advice on how to take precautions when storing, handling, using, keeping records and disposing of pesticides and pesticide waste.
Website: www.pesticides.gov.uk/guidance/industries/pesticides

Bovine TB Eradication Advisory Group for England (TBEAG)

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is seeking applications for a small number of new members to join its Bovine TB Eradication Advisory Group for England (TBEAG). This is an important group which has in the past helped advise Defra Ministers and influenced APHA policy,
Person Specification:
TBEAG members are appointed for their own knowledge and expertise (rather than as representatives of any particular group or groups) and must bring the ability to contribute effectively to the group’s deliberations, offer challenge, and communicate effectively with stakeholders. Applicants should be able to demonstrate a strong track record in one or more of the following fields or in a suitable equivalent to be detailed in the application form:
• The dairy and/or beef cattle industry in the High Risk Area
• The dairy and/or beef cattle industry in the Low Risk Area
• Veterinary practice relating to TB
• Animal health and veterinary science relating to TB
• Wider countryside expertise
• Consumer issues relating to the dairy/beef supply chain
Preference will be given to candidates who can show evidence of their ability to take a strategic view and incorporate scientific evidence into their decision-making. Candidates with expertise in a particular aspect of TB eradication should seek to show their ability and willingness to participate across the broad spectrum of issues that may arise. Further details can be found on the Cabinet Office’s Centre for Public Appointments website: https://publicappointments.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/appointment/bovine-tb-eradication-advisory-group-england/

Website: Open Website

WRAP On-farm Anaerobic Digestion Fund

The On-Farm Anaerobic Digestion Fund by WRAP aims to help farmers in England get financial support to build small-scale AD plants on their farms.
WRAP understand that the main barriers to developing anaerobic digestion (AD) on farms are:
Access to finance
Availability of reference sites for technologies and case studies
Demonstration of the benefits of AD
The potential high cost of technology
To address these barriers and encourage the uptake of small-scale on-farm AD in the UK WRAP has developed a programme to help farms access finance, provide case studies and demonstration information and provide support for farmers who want to use AD on their farm.
The fund will be available to farms in England, that have access to slurries or manures; and who wish to build AD plants producing up to 250k/W of power.
The scheme is split into two parts:
a business plan grant up to £10,000 to investigate the environmental and economic potential of building an AD plant on the farm
a capital loan up to £400,000 (or a maximum of 50% of the project cost). This is available for AD plants producing up to 250kW of power.
The funding is available in England only, however if you are a farmer in another nation resources have been produced to help you through the process of feasibility and business planning.
For more information please visit the website.

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

Could you be a Local Broadband Champion?

Are you interested in what is happening with the rollout of superfast broadband in your area? Do you think that others would like to know more? We are looking for Local Broadband Champions across Warwickshire and Solihull, but particularly in those areas where future coverage is planned.
We currently have over 220 Champions who are working with us to circulate information about our project and to feed back to us about specific issues in their areas. Our Local Broadband Champions are the eyes and ears of their local community and provide an invaluable service in letting people know what is happening with the project and giving us information about the situation on the ground.
So, what does it involve? Local Champions are likely to do some, or all, of the following: putting posters on noticeboards; delivering flyers to households; working alongside parish councils; posting updates to social networking pages; forwarding news to local contacts and website editors.
All information and materials are provided by the CSW Broadband team, and Champions will receive information about what has worked well elsewhere.
If you would like to find out more about being a Local Broadband Champion please visit: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/get-involved/become-a-community-champion

Fit For Farming

One man in five will die before he reaches 65. And when the average age of the UK farmer is 57, that’s a fact you can’t ignore.
The mind and body of the farmer is the best bit of kit on any farm. With a little care, the high-performance machine that is the male body will run smoothly for a lifetime with just basic maintenance and minimal need for spare parts. An easy-to-read booklet FIT FOR FARMING explains the little changes that can make a big difference and also includes details on all the common occupational health concerns for UK farmers from ticks and insect stings to asbestos and tetanus.
To access the FIT FOR FARMING booklet follow this link https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/fit-farming
The 40 page full colour A5 booklet has been developed by a team who know a bit about farming and men’s health. Originally written by Dr Ian Banks, himself a farmer, it has been revised and redesigned in partnership with several farming and rural organisations including the Yorkshire Rural Support Network, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, the Farming Life Centre (Blackwell, Derbyshire), the Farming Community Network and many others.
The article about FIT FOR FARMING was included in the RASE’s Members Agri-Bulletin November 2015 issue (www.rase.org.uk) and the paper is taken from the Men’s Health Forum: https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/fit-farming

Website: Open Website

1.4m now available to boost local businesses

A new scheme, aimed at boosting the rural economy across the North Warwickshire and Hinckley & Bosworth, has officially been launched.
The two Councils have secured £1.416 million of European funding through the LEADER Programme (2015-2019). LEADER is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
The money will be allocated to businesses, groups or organisations that can demonstrate a benefit to the local rural economy. To be successful, applications must contribute to the creation of jobs or the development of businesses in the rural areas.
The first call for applications for funding, which opened on the 16 November 2015, is for projects from farmers, foresters and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The deadline for outline applications in this first round is the 4 January 2016. Further applications to deliver projects relating to rural services, tourism, cultural and heritage activities will be invited from next year.
To discuss a potential project idea or to receive an outline application form, contact the LEADER Programme Team at North Warwickshire Borough Council, on 01827 719356 or email leaderproject@northwarks.gov.uk Alternatively visit the Facebook page at: /NWHBLEADER

Warwickshire CC Fire & Rescue

Warwickshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service are urging local businesses to step up to the challenge and think about releasing a member of their staff to become a retained firefighter.
Although not based on fire stations, retained firefighters usually live or work in their local community and carry a pager, so when they get the call, they are ready to respond to any emergency.
Currently, there are over 100 retained firefighters in Warwickshire, responding to the call to keep our communities safe. However, many more are needed, to provide cover at our retained stations during the day, nights and weekends.
Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Retained Duty Systems Liaison Officer, Andrew Goodman said:
“Retained firefighters play a vital role in keeping communities safe and we rely heavily on local businesses to help us achieve this. At present we really need more people to come forward to provide cover in the day time, especially in more rural areas of the county like Henley, Stratford and Wellesbourne.
“So if your business is situated within five minutes of any of our retained stations, then we really need your help!
“We are looking to recruit people from all walks of life. No previous experience is needed, but common sense, self-motivation, compassion and the ability to work as part of a team is essential. Any potential candidates must also live or work within five minutes travel time of their nearest fire station and be over 18.”
For more information on what it could mean for your business, then log onto www.warwickshire.gov.uk/beextraordinary or call the retained recruitment team on 01926 852223 for an initial chat.
Full details about being a retained firefighter can be found at http://apps.warwickshire.gov.uk/api/documents/WCCC-844-147

Telephone: 01926 852223
Website: Open Website

Broadband Speed Tests – Warwickshire

Luke Ryder from NFU is looking into the Broadband speeds experienced by farmers and rural businesses based in Warwickshire. So that he can gather as much information as possible it would be helpful if anyone based in Warwickshire could test the upload and download speeds of their broadband.
To run the speed test you can use one of the options below:
Desktop/Latptop: This Which? Link is known to be reliable and works well on desktops and laptop computers – just simply click the ‘start speed test ‘ button and it should give you a download and an upload speed – it does also work on tablets and phones but just in case there is the link below as well: http://www.which.co.uk/technology/broadband-tv-and-phone/guides/speed-test-your-internet-connection/
Tablet/Mobile Phone & Desktop/Laptop: This is a speed test from Ookla who run an easy to use tablet and smartphone free app that runs speed tests. This will direct users to their app store to download it – OR will let them go to a webpage where they can simply click ‘Begin Test’ and it will give them a similar download and upload test result: http://www.speedtest.net/
Once you have ran the speed tests please email your name, postcode (or area) and both the download and upload values in Megabits per second/Mbps.
Send the information to luke.ryder@nfu.org.uk or text to 07766745495.

Contact: Luke Ryder
Telephone: 07766745495
Email Address: luke.ryder@nfu.org.uk

Soil Moisture Monitoring Stations

The NFU are in conversation with the Centre of Hydrology and Ecology (CEH) are requires sites for their COSMOS project which aims to provide a long-term network of soil moisture monitoring stations for the UK. Anyone who gives permission for a new station on their land would get access to all the information which the equipment collects.
Warwickshire and Worcestershire are in the middle of the area they are looking to establish. If you would like to get involved or can think of anyone who may like to, please contact Luke Ryder luke.ryder@nfu.org.uk or Ceris Jones Ceris.Jones@nfu.org.uk on 024 7685 8538.
The site requirements are quite particular – uniform land cover (ideally grassland) and reasonably flat within 350 m radius, absence of significant surface water within 350 m radius, avoid areas of water management (irrigation, drainage ditches) etc.
Ideal site requirements for COSMOS-UK
• Site location:
• Uniform land cover and reasonably flat within 350 m radius* absence of significant surface water within 350 m radius*
• Avoid shallow groundwater
• Avoid areas of water management: irrigation, drainage ditches
• suitably exposed for meteorological equipment (more details available)
• low likelihood of vandalism/theft
• Good mobile phone coverage (GPRS, for data feed)
• accessible by vehicle for installation work
• Installation includes:
• two 50 mm diameter stainless steel posts (1.6 m and 2.2 m above the ground) secured by postcrete (to 0.5 m depth).
• Concrete pad to secure rain gauge (50 x 50 x 50 cm)
• Area covered by installation 12 m by 3 m, preferably fenced off with post and wire (stock netting and two strands of barbed wire) – could potentially be shared with existing installation.
* subject to review

Contact: Luke Ryder
Email Address: luke.ryder@nfu.org.uk

The Soil Association: Working and sharing with farmers and growers

Most farmers and growers understand the importance of soils, yet keeping up to date with research and current best practice is not always easy. The Soil Association intends to continue building on their work to discover and share the best methods and management tools for improving soils. Working with farmers and growers and expert partner organisations Organic Research Centre and EarthCare Technical, the Soil Association will be reviewing and comparing current approaches to soil management. This knowledge will allow them to continue developing and field testing a set of methods, approaches, and new tools for soil assessment and management.
The findings will be turned into practical information and training resources to equip farmers and growers with an improved knowledge and understanding of soil health, enabling them to choose appropriate methods to enhance and maintain soil health – the key to good crop health, yield and quality.
The programme’s objectives are to:
◾evaluate soil assessment methods
◾improve confidence in ‘reading the signs’
◾offer the opportunity to practise assessment methods with colleagues and advisors
◾engage with, and disseminate the methods and approaches to a wide range of levy payers, farmers and growers, advisors and other stakeholders
◾develop methods and approaches for practical soil analysis and evaluation to enable confident choice of management options.
The ‘Growing Resilient Efficient And Thriving’ GREAT Soils is project is funded by the Horticultural Development Company.

FREE Business Support for SMEs in the West Midlands

NISP Network is a business opportunity programme, devised and managed by International Synergies Ltd, which aims to help businesses cut cost by making better use of their resources. International Synergies Ltd is able to provide FREE support to SME businesses in the West Midlands (covering Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the Metropolitan Borough of the West Midlands) through its NISP Network activities funded by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund.
How NISP Network can help:
Instead of being destroyed, undervalued as a by-product or sent to landfill, waste streams and other under- utilised resources generated by industrial processes are redirected for use by other companies as raw material inputs, typically from different sectors, providing a mutual benefit. NISP Network’s role is to facilitate discussions between different organisations, identifying reuse opportunities for materials and resources from one company for use by another, either in the same condition or reprocessed for a different use.
If you are an SME with an operating site in the West Midlands, then you can qualify for 12 hours of FREE business support. This can be delivered in a number of ways:
• A site visit to help identify and characterize your waste resources, and raw material inputs and to fully understand where significant cost savings can be made;
• Setting up and facilitating opportunities to recycle and reuse materials arising from operating sites and projects;
• Attend one of our skills seminars to see the benefits of process mapping and other advanced waste auditing techniques;
• Attend one our internationally renowned resource matching workshops, identifying new business opportunities through networking and swapping resource details with other business delegates.
DETAILS ARE AVAILABLE AT www.NISPnetwork.com
Contact Details: International Synergies Ltd
Ian Humphreys
UK Manager
Mob: 07920 027139
ian.humphreys@international-synergies.com
Philip Johnson
Business Consultant
Mob: 07824 617103
philip.johnson@international-synergies.com
Head Office 0121 433 2660
E: info@international-synergies.com

Website: Open Website

Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme

Since the Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme was launched in Warwickshire it is proving to be very popular. If you are a business, charity or other eligible organisation (even if you operate from home) then you could claim up to £3,000 towards the cost of your connections. Even if the fibre network hasn’t reached you yet, there may be other technologies that could be used. For more information about the scheme in Coventry or Warwickshire visit: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/the-project/broadband-connection-voucher-scheme
The Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme will complement the broadband rollout under the CSW Broadband programme, and is administered by Coventry City Council.
Applying to the scheme is very straightforward and applications will be dealt with promptly. Simply visit: www.coventry.gov.uk/broadband

1.4 million Boost for Rural Business

A NEW scheme aimed at boosting the rural economy across the North Warwickshire and Hinckley & Bosworth area will be launched later this year.
The partnership has secured approximately £1.4 million pounds of European funding through the LEADER Programme, which is delivered by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
The money will be allocated to businesses, groups or organisations that can demonstrate a benefit to the local rural economy. To be successful, applications must contribute to the creation of jobs or the development of businesses in the rural areas.
A Local Action Group (LAG), consisting of local public, private and voluntary sector representatives, will have the job of assessing the applications and will decide whether the project will contribute to the overall aim of the programme.
The Borough Councils and the LAG will now work together on developing the local programme. It is anticipated that a call for applications from local organisations and businesses will be made from September 2015 but further information on this will follow shortly.
In the meantime, anyone who would like to know more about the programme or who would like to register their initial interest in applying for funding should contact Emma McKay, LEADER Development Officer at North Warwickshire Borough Council, on (01827) 719356 or via email at emmamckay@northwarks.gov.uk

Tourism funding available to support festivals and events in Warwickshire

Warwickshire County Council has underlined its commitment to supporting tourism and culture by making a £75,000 grant fund available to organisations planning to hold events or festivals throughout the county.
The Tourism Event Funding Scheme has been devised as part of a new three-year work programme to support tourism and cultural activity across Warwickshire. Launched at the end of July, the first deadline for applications is Friday 18th September.
The scheme is designed to support those organising events and festivals and encourage them to evaluate what they do to become better equipped to gain future sponsorship and funding and sustain events for the longer term.
The council is looking for innovative projects that have demonstrable support from local businesses. Applications are welcome from Individual businesses or groups of businesses, Tourism Associations, Business Improvements Districts, Town Centre Management Groups, Tourism Groups, Business Network Group, Event and Festival Organisers and Arts organisations.
Any organisation or group interested in applying for a grant can find full details at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tourism.

Tree health information

The Forestry Commission Tree Health Newsletter is now available with disease updates on Ash, Larch, and Sweet Chestnut, as well as information on the Tree health team, events, funding, and how people can get involved. If you haven’t already signed up click http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pestsanddiseases to sign up.

Website: Open Website

LEADER Funding – North Warwickshire

1.4million Boost for Rural Business
A NEW scheme aimed at boosting the rural economy across the North Warwickshire and Hinckley & Bosworth area will be launched later this year.
It is the first time that the two boroughs have worked together in precisely this way, although it builds on a shared commitment to work together to benefit the local economy and improve services for local people. The exciting partnership has secured approximately £1.4 million pounds of European funding through the LEADER Programme, which is delivered by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
The money will be allocated to businesses, groups or organisations that can demonstrate a benefit to the local rural economy. To be successful, applications must contribute to the creation of jobs or the development of businesses in the rural areas.
A Local Action Group (LAG), consisting of local public, private and voluntary sector representatives, will have the job of assessing the applications and will decide whether the project will contribute to the overall aim of the programme. It is anticipated that there will be considerable interest in the programme from businesses and organisations from across North Warwickshire and Hinckley and Bosworth.
The Chair of the LAG, Sharon Earp an active member of the Hinckley and Bosworth Tourism Partnership and Leicestershire Tourism Partnership, runs her own award winning tourism business stated, “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded the funding, and anticipate and are confident that it will make a real difference to the longevity, sustainability and success of the rural economy in this wonderful area”.
The Borough Councils and the LAG will now work together on developing the local programme. It is anticipated that a call for applications from local organisations and businesses will be made from September 2015 but further information on this will follow shortly.
In the meantime, anyone who would like to know more about the programme or who would like to register their initial interest in applying for funding should contact Emma McKay, LEADER Development Officer at North Warwickshire Borough Council, on (01827) 719356 or via email at emmamckay@northwarks.gov.uk

Warwickshire Businesses thrive with Rural Growth Network support

Rural businesses throughout Warwickshire are thriving thanks to the support and grant-funding of Warwickshire Rural Growth Network.
So far more than 500 businesses have been supported by the programme and over 120 people helped to start a business.
This continues the eye-catching success of Warwickshire Growth Rural Network, one of only five Rural Growth Networks being piloted in the country.
Working on behalf of the network, Warwickshire County Council administers the funding which comes from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rural Development Programme for England which is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and the Government Equalities Office on behalf of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Expert advice and support is available to rural businesses in any sector and people looking to start their own new business. And, with such a diverse wealth of expertise within Warwickshire’s business community, that support has been accessed by a vast range of enterprises.
From manufacturing to retail and to health and social work; from science and technology to the arts and digital media; from education and construction to agriculture, businesses have either been started up or enabled to grow thanks to WRGN support.
A major strand of that support comes through Micro Enterprise Grants which have underpinned many success stories in the last two years and continue to help small rural business become established or expand. The grants have been accessed through both the Rural Development Programme for England, a seven-year programme (2007–2013) funded jointly by the EU, through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the UK Government and directly through the Rural Growth Network’s own Micro Enterprise Grant programme.
In the last two years MEGs have created or safeguarded 275 jobs with grants handed out totalling £640,000 with a leverage of over £1,100,000.
Among businesses to take advantage of a Micro Enterprise Grant is Wolston-based industrial design company Smallfry, whose managing director Steve May-Russell has been short-listed for the Institute of Directors’ West Midlands Director of the Year Award.
Steve sought support for a very specific objective – and is delighted that he did as a £12,444 Micro Enterprise Grant enabled him to purchase a rapid prototype machine with obvious benefits to business growth.
“The machine was clearly going to benefit our business,” said Steve, “but it was quite a significant investment for a small business so something to think about carefully.
“Basically, we just needed a little nudge and that’s what we got when we found out that the grant might be available. It was real surprise to get a call from a colleague suggesting we look into it. I’m very glad we did.”
For more information on Warwickshire Rural Growth Network please go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ruralgrowthnetwork or call 01926 412709.

Contact: Rural Growth Network
Telephone: 01926 412709
Website: Open Website

Warwickshire Rural Watch – Crime Prevention Advice

Marking your property is a positive way to fight crime, it can act as a deterrent, it
allows you to prove ownership and helps you to identify your property easily if it
is offered for sale. Marking your property also provides a means for the Police to identify stolen goods and return them to their owners.
There are a number of different ways to mark your property:
Visible Markers:
Permanent marker pens
Waterproof paint
Stencils
Engraving
Specialised overt marking kits available on the market such as Cremark (being
used for Rural Crime property marking events)
Invisible Markers:
UV Pens
Specialised forensic kits such as SmartWater, SelectaDNA, Red Web etc.
(SmartWater kits are available through Warwickshire Horse Watch and
Neighbourhood Watch at discounted prices).
What to Mark Your Property With:
You can put any kind of mark on your property to distinguish it from other similar
items. Warwickshire Police and Warwickshire Rural Watch recommend using your postcode prefixed with the number of your address, i.e. 23 B78 1XX. A post code is unique to your property, which most organisations recognise and allows the goods to be identified and returned to you. Just putting a name or symbol on the property makes it identifiable, but does not provide details to the Police of who owns the property and where it came from.
As part of the Warwickshire Rural Watch Scheme the rural team will come to your farm, stables or rural business and help you mark your property – for contact information please visit the website: www.warwickshireruralwatch.co.uk.
It is strongly recommended that you take a photo of all your valuables and make
a note of any distinguishing marks, including where and how you have property
marked it. You can then print the photographs off and keep in a safe place, load
onto your computer or keep on a memory stick. By having these records if your
property is stolen you will have as much information as possible to give to the
Police and also pass to retailers and other organisations to help locate your
property. For more advice and information please visit the website www.warwickshireruralwatch.co.uk.

Contact: Carol Cotterill, Warwickshire Rural Watch
Telephone: 07787 151848
Website: Open Website

Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme

A new scheme has been launched in Warwickshire to enable eligible businesses and voluntary organisations to claim grants of up to £3,000 towards the cost of upgrading to superfast broadband. The Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme is now available to any business, charity or voluntary organisation and can cover both fixed solutions, usually fibre connections, or wireless solutions such as satellite or microwave broadband where fibre is not available.
Organisations are usually eligible if they employ fewer than 250 people and have a turnover of less than £41m per year. Even sole-traders or businesses run from home can apply, so the scheme is open as widely as possible.
The Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme will complement the broadband rollout under the CSW Broadband programme, and is administered by Coventry City Council, who have over 12 months’ experience of the voucher scheme in Coventry prior to its extension into Warwickshire.
It is very positive that this scheme is now open to organisations in Warwickshire and organisations are urged to apply as soon as possible. This voucher scheme will help those businesses who need support to connect to the new technologies, and will also help those in areas where the fibre network has not yet reached by contributing to the connection costs of satellite or microwave solutions. Warwickshire has a high number of small enterprises and businesses run from home, and it is important that these should be able to compete against larger businesses in an increasingly global economy.
The scheme has been running in Coventry for some time and so far over 300 vouchers have been issued, representing grants with a total value in excess of £500,000. Applying to the scheme is very straightforward and applications will be dealt with promptly, simply visit www.coventry.gov.uk/broadband
All enquiries about the scheme should be directed to Coventry City Council by emailing sccbroadband@coventry.gov.uk
Remember: A fibre connection may not be available in your area now, but the CSW Broadband network is expanding rapidly. It is a wholesale network that will offer a wide choice of Internet Service Providers, so if you are told that fibre broadband is not yet available in your area, check the CSW Broadband website for more information: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk and of course, this voucher scheme also covers satellite or wireless solutions if you can’t wait for fibre!

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

Electric Wayleaves Survey

An important survey has been launched that deals with electric wayleaves and the impact they have on agriculture particularly since modern farm machinery has become larger. It’s essential that the electric wayleave compensation farmers receive recognises the impact pylons and poles have on farm businesses. Now is your chance to make sure this happens!
For more information, see the following link: http://www.nfuonline.com/news/latest-news/wayleaves-help-us-to-achieve-fair-payments/ (or Click Here)
The survey which is being run by ADAS on behalf of the NFU and the Energy Networks Association has gone live on the NFU website and will be being promoted over the coming weeks. It is very important‎ that we get as many members as possible who are affected by electric pylons and poles to complete this survey. This survey will lead on to what ground survey work is carried out now through late spring, summer and autumn. So for example this might be timing how long it takes a modern sprayer to go round a pylon situated in the middle of a field etc. If you would like to see wayleave payments changed to better reflect losses and interference, now is your chance,

Horse Watch

West Mercia Police have recognised that Warwickshire have a very active and successful Horsewatch scheme and work is being undertaken to set a similar scheme up for the West Mercia area. A benefit of the West Mercia affiliation with the Warwickshire police is that the excellent Warwickshire Horsewatch is now open for horse owners in the West Mercia area. Warwickshire and West Mercia forces also recognise that with rural and equine crime, thieves do not respect borders and what happens in one county soon moves across to another. Therefore, alerts from many counties including Worcestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire and West Midlands are included on their Facebook page and in their Rural and Horsewatch Crime Alerts Bulletins. You are invited to join the Warwickshire Scheme. To join, please visit the Warwickshire Horsewatch website: www.warwickshire-horsewatch.co.uk The Warwickshire Horsewatch website also provides crime prevention advice sheets on all manner of issues from oil theft and fencing energiser thefts to the keeping of livestock and chickens. You can also download a Record Form to record details of equipment and tack. If you are on Facebook, you can also ‘like’ the Warwickshire Horsewatch Facebook page, to get alerts directly to your Facebook account, about what is happening in rural areas across the Midlands – http://www.facebook.com/WarwiskshireHorseWatch?fref=ts

Warwickshire Community Resource database

Warwickshire Community Resource is a FREE database which enables organisations in Warwickshire to swap, share and trade resources for low cost or no cost rates. The database is available to all organisations big or small and open to the voluntary and community sector, statutory sector, businesses and social enterprises.
To register, click on the link below and download a membership application form.

Website: Open Website

Calling All Warwickshire Businesses – Want to Save Money By Recycling?

Warwickshire County Council now offers commercial waste and recycling services at the majority of its household waste recycling centres across Warwickshire.
Drop Off Services Available:
1) Purchase a recycling permit for your recyclable waste such as cardboard, paper, soft plastics etc at a cost of just £20 for 6 months, visiting as often as you like.
2) Purchase commercial waste bags for your non-recyclable waste at just £60 for x20 bags (£3/bag equivalent).
3) ‘Pay-as-you-throw’ for materials such as wood, plasterboard, soil/rubble, wood/timber, green garden waste or non-recyclable waste. Charges start at just £10 for a car load of green garden waste.
For more information or to apply for a recycling permit please visit the website below or to purchase bags or to use the pay-as-you-throw service please visit the recycling centre.

Website: Open Website

The Farm Crap App

A new manure management app “the Farm Crap App” is designed to help farmers and growers value the nutrients found in organic manures.
What is it?
The app, developed by the SWARM Knowledge Hub in collaboration with Rothamsted Research North Wyke allows the farming community to appreciate the nutritive and economic value of livestock manures.
Farmers are able to visually assess manures and slurry application rates and calculate what is being provided in terms of available nutrients as well as giving an estimate of potential savings in artificial fertilisers.
The data is based on Defra’s RB209 Fertiliser Manual values for crop available nutrients along with the industry produced publication Think Manures and allows you to select different seasons, types of manures and crops growing to see what the manure will provide in terms of fertiliser value.
The calculator determines the amount of crop available nutrients that are found within manures spread at different rates. This helps with decisions on how much to spread in order to meet the crop requirements.
How do I access it?
The app is available on Apple and Android devices, through the Google Play or iTunes stores. For more information please visit the link below.

Website: Open Website

Stocktake – a benchmarking service for all English levy payers

Do you know your costs of production? How does your performance compare to others? Would you like data to help you improve your efficiency and returns?
What is Stocktake?
· Stocktake is a secure benchmarking service which is open to all English levy payers at no extra cost.
· Stocktake is a cost and performance comparison service which draws on information collected from beef and
sheep enterprises.
· Stocktake has been tailor-made for commercial English producers, to analyse the efficiency and profitability of
their livestock enterprises.
· Stocktake is a stand-alone service operated by Eblex. The results are confidential and independent. Figures
collected and analysed are not influenced by the marketing messages of commercial companies.
· Stocktake’s comparisons can be based on net margins at enterprise level, so farmers can judge like-against like.
What is involved?
· Participating farmers typically spend no more than half of a day assembling the basic farm costs information, one of our trained collectors will come to your farm, collect information and upload it for you.
· Once analysed, farmers will receive a detailed report of their figures which highlights the strengths and weaknesses of their business compared to similar operators in the county.
If you are a commercial beef or sheep farmer and are interested, then please contact Richard Meredith.

Contact: Richard Meredith
Telephone: 07717 493015

Practical tips for improving your Broadband speed

Ofcom reports that there are a number of factors which can affect the speed of your broadband connection. The distance your home is from the telephone exchange, the time of day you go online and the number of people in your home using the internet at the same time, can all play a part in slowing down your connection.
Your device may also not be set-up correctly or the line that provides the internet connection to your home may be damaged, while your internet provider’s traffic management policies could also be a factor.
Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Broadband has listed some tips could help bring your connection back up to speed – visit the website below for full information.

Website: Open Website

Build a stronger business with the help of a mentor

A mentor can be a fantastic source of support and guidance in fact research shows businesses that have a mentor are more likely to survive and grow than those without.
The mentors at Get Mentoring in Farming have extensive farming and/or agricultural business experience. They can support and guide you in a number of ways:
By providing honest and constructive feedback;
By being a sounding board for your ideas;
Or, by listening, confidentially to the things that are concerning you about your business.
The support being offered is completely free of charge so what have you got to lose? Visit the website below to find out more and register your interest.

Website: Open Website

Rural Enterprise – FREE Business Advice and Workshop Programme

Do you live in rural Warwickshire?
Are you interested in starting a Social Enterprise?
Sign up for COVENTRY AND WARWICKSHIRE CDA’S FREE Business Advice and Workshop Programme
Contact us to book an advice session or for more information.
This project is part of The Warwickshire Rural Growth Network Programme and an eligibility criterion applies.

Contact: Isobel Fitzgerald
Telephone: 024 7663 3911 ext.112 or 07811 966345
Website: Open Website

Follow Farming Advice Service on Twitter or sign up for free newsletters

FAS has joined Twitter. Follow them on @DefraFAS for up-to-the-minute updates on publications, events and industry information.
Alternatively you can subscribe to the free FAS Newsletter. To receive further copies of the FREE FAS newsletter which is provided every two months, please call the number below or send an email with ‘Register for newsletter’ in the subject line.

Telephone: 0345 345 1302

Bovine electronic identification

A new EU Regulation for the identification and traceability of bovine animals (that is, cattle, bison and buffalo) came into effect in July. It will enable the use of official electronic identification (EID) tagging for bovine animals, which will be similar to that used for sheep and goats. Member States have been given up to five years to set up their systems to run a bovine EID system. Each country can decide to make it compulsory to use an electronic identifier, but they must have consulted their industry fully before making the decision. Although the five years commences from July 2014, the next necessary stage is for the European Commission to agree with Member States the exact technology for EU bovine EID and to publish it.
What does all this mean for UK cattle, bison and buffalo farmers? First, there will be no major alterations to current procedures immediately. Cattle, bison and buffalo will still have to have a visible tag in each ear, with the same number on each, which gives the animal its unique, lifetime identity – just the same as they do now. This will be the case until the five-year transition period comes to an end. This is because all Member States must have the same deadline for moving to EID and some countries would require more changes to their IT systems. Even after bovine EID comes in, cattle, bison and buffalo would still have to have one visible tag, along with one electronic identifier. The EU list of potential official electronic devices includes tags, ruminal boluses and ‘injectables’. One of the decisions that will need to be made during the transition period is which of these devices would be approved for use. Again, that question will be part of a full industry consultation. In the meantime, the current selection of unofficial EID tags will continue to be available.

CAP: Greening and Cross Compliance

From 2015, 30% of Pillar 1 payments to farmers will be linked to greening measures that must be undertaken to benefit the climate and environment. One of the requirements that farmers must meet is to ensure that 5% of their land is set aside in an Ecological Focus Area (EFA). The greening rules include crop diversification and EFAs for arable land. Details for EFA options were announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in June.
The package of EFA options gives farmers flexibility over how they comply with the rules. Farmers who need to have EFAs will be able to choose how to meet the requirement from a list which includes land lying fallow, buffer strips, ‘catch and cover crops’ used to manage soil fertility and quality, nitrogen fixing crops (such as legumes) and hedgerows. More information will be published on these new greening rules in mid-August.
To receive CAP payments, farmers must continue to meet cross compliance requirements. To reduce the burden on farmers, Defra has cut these measures from 17 to 11.
For the latest guidance and press releases on CAP reform, please visit the link below.

Website: Open Website

Greening – work out what it means for you

Defra – together with the RPA, Natural England and the Forestry Commission – have issued a new leaflet “Greening: Work Out What It Means For You” to give farmers the most up-to-date information available on new ‘greening’ rules, which are part of the CAP changes.
To download the leaflet please visit the website below.

Website: Open Website

Keep up to date with CSW Broadband events

Coventry and Solihull Broadband has a growing list of local events on their website. Everything from search engine optimisation to making your business mobile – and even a fish and chip night at the Midland Air Museum! For more information please visit their website.

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

Download the new EBLEX mobile app for beef and sheep farmers

A new app has been launched by EBLEX to make it easier for beef and sheep farmers to get the latest market information at their fingertips. As well as the latest prices and trends the new mobile app gives farmers the opportunity to search for their nearest auction markets and create their own personal library of technical manuals.
The app is available free on both Apple and Android platforms. The visit the app store or Google Play store and search for “EBLEX”.

HMRC Factsheets

Take a look at what’s on offer to support Small and Medium businesses (SMEs)
HMRC Tax Help factsheets offer valuable information on many tax matters. They are easy to download, save and/or print.
The most popular are:-
• Keeping records for business
• VAT
• Expenses and Allowances for the Self Employed
• Self Assessment – the three line account
• Employing someone for the first time
Visit the website below for more information.

Website: Open Website

On-line tutorial is launched for anyone wanting to become an employer

HM Customs and Revenue has launched a new online tutorial especially designed to support anyone thinking about becoming an employer which will take you through everything need to kick start your business.
It’s full of useful information and practical help to support you on your journey.
The tutorial is presented in bite size pieces so you can work through it at your own pace and when it suits you. There is no need to do it all at once – dip in and out whenever you need.
For more information click on the link below.

Website: Open Website

Chose the right wormer with updated Cattle and Sheep Parasite Control Guide

Internal parasites pose a significant threat to animal health and performance. Therefore choosing the correct wormer is vital. EBLEX has updated its easy to read parasite control guide which lists more than 100 cattle and 70 sheep products to help farmers make the right choice.
Download your guide from the link below or call the number for a hard copy.

Telephone: 0870 241 8829
Website: Open Website

New from HMRC – webinars on a variety of tax issues

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has produced a set of online seminars – ‘webinars’ – both live and pre-recorded, to help customers to understand a variety of tax systems and learn what obligations they need to meet.
Important: HMRC webinars are supplied by a company called CITRIX – so don’t be concerned if you see their name on these products as well as HMRC logos etc.
Live webinars
Live webinars are available on set dates at set times. You need to register in advance for a live webinar, but the session is then recorded and made available to view after the event.
Live webinars last for an hour, they are interactive giving you the opportunity to ask questions and get answers from your HMRC webinar host.
Registering is quick and easy – simply provide your name and email address, choose the topic you are interested in and the date and time that suit you best. You will then receive an email with a link to view the webinar.
Tip: log in at least five minutes before the start time, to make sure the software needed for the webinar downloads to your computer in plenty of time.
Pre-recorded webinars
You don’t need to register for a pre-recorded webinar – they are available to view now, or whenever suits you. Simply choose the topic you are interested in, then follow the link to start viewing the webinar. HMRC are interested in what you think of the recordings and may contact you after you have viewed a recording for your thoughts on how to improve services.

Website: Open Website

New B2B Portal for small businesses

Warwickshire County Council has just launched a new FREE B2B Portal enabling local businesses to;
Promote subcontracting opportunities
View local events and news
Advertise job vacancies
Connect to other businesses
Available over the internet the B2B portal is accessible using mobile devices. B2B provides a flexible solution to link with old and new business partners.

Telephone: 01926 418027
Website: Open Website

Warwickshire Community Oil Syndicate

Save money on your heating oil. Warwickshire Community Oil Syndicate is a countywide syndicate run by Warwickshire Rural Community Council (a local charity) to reduce the cost of domestic heating oil. Orders are gathered each month and a best price negotiated from a range of local suppliers for both kerosene and red diesel. Households, community groups and businesses can all benefit. Contact oil@wrccrural.org.uk for more details, telephone 01789 472611 or look at www.ruralwarwickshire.org.uk/oil.

The Friendly Farmer Project – Community Toolbox

Your Community and you: Getting to know your local farmers and what they do
An information and support document for communities wishing to engage with their local farmers.
To view the Community Toolbox document please click the website link below.
This project is funded by Central Warwickshire Villages LEADER as part of the Rural Development Programme for England

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

The Friendly Farmer Project – Farmer Toolbox

Please come on to my farm! How to show my local community what I do and how I do it.
An information and support document for farmers wishing to engage with their local community on thier farm.
To view the Farmer Toolbox document please click the website link below.
This project is funded by Central Warwickshire Villages LEADER as part of the Rural Development Programme for England

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

Would you Like to

Donate to the Hub?

A donation to the Hub of any amount is always gratefully received. However, it is only donations of over £100 that can be acknowledged on the Hub website as a Patron.  A donation can be given to the Hub by cheque, bank payment, standing order or by the Paypal Link Below.

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

Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

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

Hub Steering Group Members

Luke Ryder, NFU
Mark Dickin, Ellacotts Accountants
Susan Lewis, S2M Marketing
Tom Newbury, 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, Environmental Farming
John Slee, Environmental Farming Group

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.

© 2018 Warwickshire Rural Hub. All rights reserved.