Warwickshire Rural Hub
Here is a flavour of some of the most recent industry news stories. To read all news posts please click on one of the categories above.
Forces Farming – helping ex-forces personnel to find a new career in agriculture
Retired forces personnel can often have many skills which are very transferable to farming – and they are also used to working outdoors in all weathers! Their forces training means that veterans will also be punctual, thrive on routine, be safety conscious and be used to physical work. If you are a farming business which would be interested in hosting an insight day, offering some work experience or even a longer placement to a forces veteran please visit the Forces Farming website for information on how to register your interest.
Recycle your farm plastic with the Green Tractor scheme
Green Tractor’s aim is to provide UK agriculture with the ability to recycle all farm plastic by 2030. They operate on a not-for-profit basis. The Green Tractor Scheme provides sustainable solutions for plastic used across all sectors of agriculture in the UK. The scheme is primarily focused on the collection and processing of waste farm plastic. Although agricultural plastics only represent 3% of the total plastics used in the UK, it is important that this high-profile sector continues to improve producer responsibility. The Green Tractor Scheme covers the significant majority of the UK’s collectors and provides shared responsibility for farm plastic across the entire supply chain. The first plastic recycling survey shows that 19,974 tonnes of plastic was collected in 2018 and 24,149 tonnes was collected in 2019. Most of the plastic was sent for recycling with only 4% going to landfill. To find out how to join the scheme please visit the Green Tractor website.
Get help with your online presence
More Warwickshire businesses are set to get help with improving their online presence after a successful scheme was extended and is now being offered to more sectors. The Chamber is working with Stories Marketing to deliver the programme which includes a taster session, two three-hour workshops and one-to-one help. Independent businesses in retail, hospitality and tourism can benefit from the new programme of workshops and one-to-one support which is being run by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Warwickshire County Council. Visit this page to book a session.
£1000 incentive for businesses to invest in apprenticeships
Warwickshire County Council is offering Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) a £1,000 incentive, plus fully funded apprenticeship training to help businesses reshape their workforce to meet the demands presented by Covid-19. The new Warwickshire Apprenticeship Progression programme – delivered via the Warwickshire Skills Hub and the Coventry and Warwickshire Apprenticeship Provider Network – gives micro businesses and SMEs the support they need to find the right apprenticeships to upskill their workforce. Through the programme, businesses can progress apprentices by building upon a previous qualification ensuring the skill sets within their business continues to be relevant in a post-pandemic world. The programme offers a £1000 incentive per apprentice with a maximum five apprentices per business. Visit this page for further information.
WCC confirm £500K for more Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans
A further £500,000 loan has been approved by Warwickshire County Council to the Coventry and Warwickshire Re-investment Trust (CRWT) to support several more Warwickshire businesses via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme. CBILS loans are there to support otherwise viable small businesses who have been unable to secure sufficient (or any) finance from their bank or other mainstream lenders. The CRWT has long supported small businesses and individuals looking to start up, but the pressures caused by the pandemic caused a surged in demand from businesses having cash flow problems. To find out how to apply for a loan please visit this page.
Police confirm that cable ties are not used with dog thefts in Warwickshire
Warwickshire Police have been made aware of rumours on social media that cable ties are being used to alert thieves to houses with expensive dogs. Warwickshire Police has confirmed that they are not aware of any such incidents in the county. The Police have seen a number of dog theft offences in the county recently (a growing issue replicated across the country) and appealing to the public for information. Warwickshire Police have not found any evidence cable ties were used to identify any of the animals recently stolen. Anyone with information should call 101. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Prince’s Countryside Fund host “Are you ready for change?” webinar
Tuesday 9 March
McDonald’s UK and Prince’s Countryside Fund are inviting dairy and livestock farmers in England to attend their latest webinar on ‘Agricultural Transition – getting ready for change’. The free webinar will cover what’s happening in England under Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan, what this means in practical terms for farmers, and simple next steps that farm businesses can take to prepare themselves. To register for the webinar please visit this page.
The webinar is open to all livestock farmers in England, regardless of whether they have participated in The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme.
Coventry Harvest Hub welcomes wonky fruit and veg
Coventry Harvest Hub aims to link together local growers of fresh fruit and vegetables (who have some excess to spare) with people who can collect it and deliver directly to the food banks, so that nothing goes to waste. They also provide re-usable crates for collecting and transporting the food. Are you interested in sharing some of your excess fresh fruit and veg with people who need it? The Harvest Hub is happy to accept what others might consider ‘imperfect’ or ‘wonky’. Everything can be arranged flexibly, as they understand that supply will vary. If you are willing to share, please can you sign up on their website.
Complete your NRoSO training online
This year, due to Covid-19, NRoSO has temporarily suspended all face-to-face events, so you can now complete your annual National Register of Sprayer Operators (NRoSO) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training online. The training course awards 8 NRoSO or 8 BASIS CPD points and can be completed with either a fruit or arable focus. The course takes 2.5 hours to complete and costs £30 per course. Operators can sign up and begin their training any time between 14 January and 30 June 2021. However, all courses must be completed by 31 August 2021. Visit this page for further information.
£12m for new funding opportunity, Farming Opportunities Pathways
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Defra have announced a research and development collaboration for a new funding opportunity, Farming Innovation Pathways. Farming Innovation Pathways will ensure practical translation of leading research in agriculture, so that it can directly benefit farmers and support them to address the challenges of productivity, sustainability, and net zero emissions in UK farming. Farming Innovation Pathways aims to support the adoption of innovative technologies and practices, so it will be vital for applicants to develop solutions with the engagement of farmers and growers. There are two strands:
- Feasibility projects (£5m): To evaluate the potential of early-stage ideas or innovations that tackle on-farm challenges.
- Industrial research (£7m): To develop novel high-potential solutions targeting real issues affecting farmers, growers and other agribusinesses.
There is an online briefing about the new funding opportunity on 11 March. To register to attend please visit this page.
Female farmers requested to complete online survey
Newcastle University would like to invite female farmers to complete a short survey for women in entrepreneurs in the agriculture industry in England. This survey is being conducted by researchers at Newcastle University, commissioned by Defra. The purpose of this research is to examine how women entrepreneurs in the agriculture industry are being affected by EU Exit and COVID-19, both now and in the future. The benefits of participating in this research are sharing your thoughts and experiences with Defra so they can listen and learn; with the overarching aims of supporting the farming community throughout the agricultural transition period, helping businesses to prepare and make decisions, and targeting communications.
Please note that participation in the survey is voluntary, and the survey should only take 10-15 minutes of your time. You may withdraw at any point during the process without giving any reasons. You can access the survey here.
Consultation on next phase of government’s bovine TB strategy
The government has launched a consultation on its top three priorities for the next phase of the bovine TB strategy, which are:
• improving diagnostic testing to root out bTB more effectively, with deployment of more sensitive tests for surveillance supported by greater use of on-farm restriction of cattle with inconclusive test results.
To respond to the consultation please visit this page. The consultation closes on 24 March.
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Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors
Henry Lucas (Chair)
Graham Collier (Deputy Chair)
Hub Steering Group Members
George Bostock, NFU
Andrew Cook, Farmer
Mark Dickin, Ellacotts Accountants
Emlyn Evans, Squab Hall
Marcus Faulkner, Sheldon Bosley Knight
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
Alexandra Robinson, Wright Hassall LLP
Matt Willmott, King's Seeds
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