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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Recent Developments

Catchment Sensitive Farming partnership launch new air quality programme

The partnership between Defra, the Environment Agency and Natural England has launched a new £3 million programme to reduce air pollution from farming.  The programme will support farmers to take action to reduce harmful ammonia emissions and is in addition to the existing Catchment Sensitive Farming programme of advice to improve water quality and prevent flooding from farmed land.  The money will fund a team of specialists who will work with farmers and landowners in priority areas to implement the measures to reduce their ammonia emissions. The team will provide training events, tailored advice, individual farm visits and support with grant applications.  For further information please visit this page.

Habitats Specialist for Tame Valley vacancy at WkWT

The post will deliver a range of grant funded projects on rivers, canals and wetlands across the Tame Valley Wetlands and wider Warwickshire. Utilising techniques such as biological controls for non-native invasive species, natural flood management and the re-naturalisation of rivers the post holder will work with a range of partners and landowners to restore the ecological condition of wetlands, control invasive species, reduce flooding and help to create a more resilient landscape. Projects will aim to work at a landscape scale, helping to create bigger, better, more joined up areas for the benefits of key species like otter and water voles.  Salary is £19,380 – £26,520.  Fixed term to March 2020.  Closing date is 4 November.  For further information please visit this page.

Wetlands Project Officer vacancy at WkWT

The post will deliver a range of grant funded projects on rivers, canals and wetlands across Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull. Utilising techniques such as natural flood management and the re-naturalisation of rivers the post holder will work with a range of partners and landowners to restore the ecological condition of wetlands, reduce flooding and help to create a more resilient landscape. Projects will aim to work at a landscape scale, helping to create bigger, better, more joined up areas for the benefits of key species like otter and water voles.  Salary is £19,380 – 26,520.  Fixed term to Feb 2020.  Closing date is 4 November.  For further information please visit this page.

Improve calf health

The cross-industry cattle antibiotics group has launched a new initiative to improve calf health, with the aim of encouraging more farmers to engage in proactive health planning.   The campaign covers all parts of the beef and dairy calf production systems and will focus on three key areas: identification and appropriate treatment, review planning and disease prevention.  Click here to find out more about the campaign

Consultation on HS2 Phase 2 Environment Statement

A consultation on the draft environmental statement for the HS2 Phase 2b route has been opened.  The consultation, which closes on 21 December, outlines where land will be affected by the scheme and how much would potentially be taken. HS2 will be writing to those landowners who are affected and offering them one to one sessions.  Visit this page to respond to the consultation.

New smartphone app to monitor crops with drone

A new smartphone app offering farmers a cheaper and easier way to monitor their crops with a drone is due to be launched.  The Skippy Scout app will fly the drone and collect high-resolution images at various points in a field. The images are then downloaded to the phone ready to be analysed for crop growth stage, green area index, the presence of weeds and disease.  The Skippy Scout app will be free during its launch and testing phases, during November 2018. Farmers can sign up for early access at the Drone Ag website.

Congratulations to Warwickshire-based Farmers’ Weekly Awards winners

Two Farmers’ Weekly Awards have been won by Warwickshire-based entrants.  Will and Charlie Moreton of Welsh Road Farm, Offchurch won the Diversification Farmers of the Year Award for their innovative wild-running WOLF event which sees competitors take part in a 10km run across rough terrain featuring 25 man-made and natural obstacles, including lakes, fallen trees, bale stacks and a 100m waterslide.  And the Rev Dr Gordon Gatwood won the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Gordon is former a Chief Executive of the Arthur Rank Centre at Stoneleigh, oversaw the establishment of the Addington Fund, has served as a Methodist minister in rural areas for over 20 years and is a Trustee of several rural-based charities.   We would like to offer our congratulations to all three winners.

Dairy farmers saw a recovery in profits in 2017/18

Dairy farmers saw their profits recover in 2017/18 as milk prices returned to more sustainable levels according to a recent survey by accountants and financial planners Old Mill.  The survey revealed that their clients made a profit from milk of £86/cow in the year to March 2018, compared to a loss of £253/cow in 2016/17.  When taking non-milk income, such as calf and cow sales, into account – but not including rent, finance or the single payment – the average farm profit was £383/cow in 17/18 against just £19/cow the previous year.  However, next year is likely to bring a sharp increase in the cost of production due to the wet spring and dry summer in 2018.

Are you looking for love in the countryside?

The hit BBC TV programme Love in the Countryside is back and on the hunt for rural singles who are looking for love but find it difficult to meet potential partners. If this sounds like you and you are interested in taking part in the programme please email LoveInTheCountryside@boundlessproduction

Young Farmers’ Club launch a video on succession

According to new research one in four farming families in the UK are not speaking to a member of their family because they have fallen out over succession issues.  In this light of this evidence the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC), with support from Defra and AHDB, has launched a new video, available on YouTube, looking at the importance of succession planning.  According to research by NFU Mutual less than 40% of farming families have an effective succession plan in place but most people surveyed agreed that it was a vital way to safeguard the future of a family farm.

Be vigilant for the threat of Bluetongue

Vigilance about the threat posed by Bluetongue has been highlighted after the disease was successfully picked up in two cattle imported from France through the routine post-import testing regime.  Farmers are reminded that animals imported from these regions must be accompanied by the relevant paperwork to clearly show they meet certain conditions designed to reduce disease risk, such as correct vaccination.

Defra appoints new Minister

The Government has appointed a Minister to oversee the protection of food supplies through the Brexit process amid rising concerns about the effect of a no-deal departure from the EU.  MP David Rutley, a former Asda and PepsiCo executive, will have responsibility for the food chain, including leading on Food & Drink Industrial Strategy, animal welfare, forestry & climate change adaptation.

Updated advice on managing ash die-back

To support their customers in the management of ash in woodlands (in light of ash dieback) the Forestry Commission has published new guidance – Responding to ash dieback operations note 46 which provides practical advice to those with responsibility for the management of ash in woodlands in England.  The FC has also produced a YouTube video – Updated guidance for managing woodland with ash dieback describing how to maintain the benefits of woodland whilst managing the impact of the disease using the updated guidance.

Defra announces help for drought-hit farmers in Stewardship schemes

Defra has announced 40 temporary prescription adjustments (TPA) to help drought-hit farmers in stewardship schemes provide extra fodder, bedding or grazing for their stock.  The changes apply to certain prescriptions in Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship schemes.  Full details are available on the Government website.

Landmark Agricultural Bill to deliver Green Brexit

Legislation to deliver a cleaner and healthier environment for future generations after nearly half a century under EU rules was introduced into Parliament on 12 September.   The Agriculture Bill sets out how farmers and land managers will in future be paid for “public goods”, such as better air and water quality, improved soil health, higher animal welfare standards, public access to the countryside and measures to reduce flooding.  To view further information on the Bill please visit the Defra website.

Have your say on the AHDB

Farmers, growers, processors and industry representatives are being asked for their views on the role of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).  The AHDB is a UK statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain. As we leave the EU, there is an opportunity to ensure that the sectors that the AHDB covers are as competitive as possible. This review will look at the AHDB’s purpose and priorities, its strengths and where improvements need to be made.  To submit your views please complete the online survey by 9 November.  


Seasonal Labour Pilot Scheme

The Government have announced a two-year pilot scheme which will allow 2500 non-EU migrant workers to work on farms, then return home after six months.  The scheme will be run by two scheme operators, who will oversee the placement of the workers. The arrangements for selecting the scheme operators will be announced in due course. The pilot will commence in the spring of 2019, will run until the end of December 2020 and will be monitored closely by the Home Office and Defra.

Farmers urged to promote Red Tractor initiative

Red Tractor Assurance is calling on the whole farming industry to get behind its first ever national television advertising campaign which launches in mid-September. Explaining to consumers what the logo stands for is the main thrust of the advert with the ultimate goal of encouraging more shoppers to buy Red Tractor assured products.  Farmers are being asked to share content, engage with the media or simply explain to family and friends what the Red Tractor logo means to them.

Proposed policies for drone use now available

A Department of Transport, Home Office, and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy consultation is currently live and proposes policies for drone use and enforcement, building on the legislation made by the Benefits of Drones to the UK economy and The Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2018. An impact assessment of the Drones and Other Unmanned Aircraft Bill is also available. The consultation is on the website.

Guidance on spreading treated sewage effluent

In order to increase options for irrigation during prolonged dry weather the Environment Agency has produced a Position Statement which states how treated final sewage effluent can be spread on land for agricultural or ecological benefit.

Memories of a farming life

“My Farming Life” presents the memories of North Warwickshire farming families, recording their daily life and the changes that have taken place during the 20th century. You can listen to the interviews that were recorded for the project, ranging from wartime memories to the present day by using this link.

Re-issuing of cattle passports

The British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) is making changes to its process for reissuing cattle passports, effective from 1 October 2018.

Cattle keepers are responsible for ensuring that they receive the passports they apply for and informing BCMS if they don’t. From the 1 October, BCMS is introducing a time limit of six weeks from the date of issue for keepers to report non-receipt, after which they will charge for a replacement.

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.


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 opportunity for farmers – Arden Farm Wildlife Network

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

The Arden Farm Wildlife Network could help you!

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

Contact: Zoe Bell
Telephone: 07980 771872
Email Address:
Website: Open Website

New scheme to encourage investment in superfast broadband

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

Website: Open Website

NFU Mutual launch new insurance for Smallholders

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

Website: Open Website

New Defra code of practice for species control

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

Website: Open Website

Get pelletwise

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

Website: Open Website

Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation

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

Parish council help required for broadband rollout

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

Marketing for plant based substances

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

New Red Tractor Stickers Launched

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

Website: Open Website

Co-op commits to British farming

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

A new platform for smart farming

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

Website: Open Website

Open Water – chose your water supplier

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

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

Call for vigilance for Sweet Chestnut Blight

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

Telephone: 01904 405138

New website about plant pests

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

Website: Open Website

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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 Champion.  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


Registration No: 7026157

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

Hub Chairman

Henry Lucas

Rural Hub Co-Ordinator

Jane Hampson

Tel: 07780 159291

Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

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


Hub Steering Group Members

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


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

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