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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Latest News

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.

Farming charities launch online training for stress management and succession

The national Farming Help charities have launched new awareness raising sessions with a focus on stress management, succession and planning for the future of the farm business.   The Defra supported sessions are discussion-led and take a positive approach towards change, inviting audience participation and the sharing of experiences to benefit others.  Scenarios have been designed to get people thinking about how they would respond in a particular situation – including a difficult conversation around succession on the family farm and two farmers responding to change in drastically different ways.  The first sessions will take place online on the following dates and are targeted at farm groups, businesses and stakeholders across agriculture:

  • 24 Feb (12-2pm)
  • 25 Feb (12-2pm)
  • 10 March (12-2pm)
  • 11 March (12-2pm)

If you are interested in attending these sessions please contact training@fcn.org.uk to book your free place.    Further information about the sessions is available here: https://fcn.org.uk/training-and-development/

England Woodland Creation Offer maintenance payments increase

The maintenance payment rates for the England Woodland Creation Offer have been increased from £200 to £300 per hectare, per annum. This change has been applied to all new and existing grant recipients. If you have an agreement the Forestry Commission will be in touch to confirm the change to your agreement and if you have an application they will apply this change when we make any offer of a grant agreement.

RABI launches two new mental health support services for 2022

With worryingly low levels of mental wellbeing identified by its Big Farming Survey, RABI has launched two new support services for 2022.  The in-person mental health counselling and farming-focused mental health training initiatives will complement existing schemes. Both services can be easily and consistently accessed by the farming community.

The free, confidential in-person counselling is delivered by BACP accredited counsellors. Anyone feeling they could benefit from talking to a professional can access via RABI’s 24/7 helpline on 0800 188 4444. Clinical or GP referrals are not necessary, with counsellors responding to initial requests for support within 24 hours.   Counselling sessions can take place face-to-face, by telephone or video conferencing and are tailored and led by each individual.  Find out more on this page.  

The second new service is accredited/certified mental health training tailored for the farming sector. The training provides a valuable tool for the agricultural community to help them feel comfortable talking about how they are feeling.  A unique feature of the training is the provision of aftercare for trainees. All who receive training will have access to ongoing support, so no one shoulders the weight of difficult conversations alone.  Further information is available on this page.

Farmers asked to light a beacon for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Organisers of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration on 2 June have appealed to landowners and farmers to light up beacons on their property at 9.15pm to ensure an impressive chain of blazes stretches across the UK.  The lighting of the beacons will be accompanied by pipers performing a song especially composed for the event.  Three types of beacon can be lit: a free-standing gas beacon, a brazier or a bonfire. At 1pm on the day, town criers across the country will announce the lighting of the fires.

Seasonal work Visa route extended to end 2024

The Home Office and DEFRA have announced that the Seasonal Worker visa route will be extended until the end of 2024, which allows foreign workers to come to the UK for up to six months to work in the horticulture sector.  There will be 30,000 visas available next year, but this will be kept under review with the potential to increase by 10,000 if necessary. The number of visas will begin to taper down from 2023.    Following the 2019 review of the pilot, the Home Office has reviewed the requirements placed on the scheme operators and updated the seasonal worker sponsor guidance to tighten the compliance requirements.

Contacts for the Warwickshire Rural Crime Team

We are fortunate in Warwickshire to have a dedicated Police team to work on rural matters. Please note the names and contact details for the Officers in the rural crime team below:

PC Andy Steventon– South West Warwickshire –- 07557 033186

PC Kate Taylor– South East Warwickshire –- 07814 046730

PC Matt SimmsSouth East Warwickshire –- 07841 048543

PC Andy Timmins– North Warwickshire –- 07790 951230

PC Andy Hoey– North Warwickshire –- 07870 514842

PC Jennifer May-Royle– Rugby, Nuneaton & Bedworth –– 07890 390715

The team are also supported countywide by Carol Cotterill who can be contacted on 07787 151848.

Please do not contact the above Police Officers to report a crime or when a crime is in action –  in these instances ring 999 or 101.  But the above contacts are available if you wish to discuss a specific issue or understand more of what the rural crime team is doing in your area. They will appreciate an invite to come and say hello, as they want to know their patches and the issues on the ground.  The above contacts can also offer crime prevention advice.

You can also follow the team on Facebook or subscribe to the Warwickshire rural alert system here.

Farmers urged to re-look at Countryside Stewardship

Defra is encouraging farmers to look again at Countryside Stewardship. Following a review, the majority of payment rates will increase with effect from this month and there will be improvements to how the scheme operates. Defra plan to open the 2023 offer in February 2022 (for agreements starting in 2023).   Some payment rates have stayed the same and rates for a minority of options have reduced – because in these cases costs have gone down. For these options, Defra will apply the reduced rates to new agreements starting from 1 January 2023. This will be the final review of Countryside Stewardship revenue payment rates. Here is a table of the full payment rate changes.

Further information on the Local Nature Recovery scheme is announced

The government has announced today (6 January) that it hopes the Local Nature Recovery scheme will have wider appeal than Countryside Stewardship and be able to deliver more and better outcomes, in a less bureaucratic and more supportive way.  The new scheme will complement the Sustainable Farming Incentive and farmers will be able to enter into both schemes, provided the actions are compatible.   It is planned to make an early version of the scheme available to a limited number of people in 2023 as part of plans for testing and rolling out the scheme.   Defra will then roll out the scheme across the whole country by the end of 2024.  Visit this page for full information on what the Local Nature Recovery Scheme will pay for.

Read the press release about the announcement on this page.  

Big Farmland Bird Count returns between 4 – 20 February

Now in its ninth year, the annual Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust Big Farmland Bird Count for 2022 takes place between 4 – 20 February.  It aims to celebrate the positive work being undertaken by land managers to help reverse the decline in British farmland birds, as well as providing a snapshot of how the UK’s bird species are faring.

The latest assessment of the status of the UK’s birds, the Birds of Conservation Concern list, was published in December, and it shows that more than one in four UK bird species is in serious trouble. Land managers can make a real difference to these declining numbers by adopting effective conservation measures on farm, and the Big Farmland Bird Count is an effective way to measure the difference that you are making. Participation only takes 30 minutes and all the information on how to take part and submit your results is available on this page.  

Consider your options for improving farm productivity

In mid-January, Defra will be launching the Improving Farm Productivity theme, which will be the second offering under the Farming Transformation Fund. In the meantime they have published ‘The Manual for Improving Farm Productivity’ to support applications for Improving Farm Productivity grants.  The manual may help you consider your options and to make a choice in a timely way before the application window opens. It provides all the information you need on what is and isn’t included.   Read the manual here. 

 

Check if your business needs to register for the new plastic tax

If you are a business that manufactures or imports plastic packaging, including if you import packaging which already contains goods (such as plastic bottles), you need to prepare for the new Plastic Tax which comes into effect on 1 April 2022.   The tax will apply to plastic packaging manufactured in, or imported into, the UK where the plastic used in its manufacture is less than 30% recycled.  The rate of the tax will be £200 per metric tonne of plastic packaging.  You will need to keep records and, in most cases, register for the tax, even if all the packaging you manufacture or import contains more than 30% recycled plastic.  If you are a business that manufactures or imports 10 or more tonnes of plastic packaging over a 12-month period you will need to register for the tax.   Find out more on this page.  

Farming Advice Service webinar programme

The Farming Advice Service invites you to attend a series of free online events, starting in early 2022.  Each online event will have a different theme and will run for one hour, including the opportunity to put questions to expert speakers  If you are not able to make any of the live broadcasts, a recording of the webinar will be made available on the FAS website.  Booking is essential.  Topics being covered include:

What’s new in cross compliance in 2022

Future support schemes – what’s coming next?

Steps to reduced ammonia emissions on farm

Visit this page to register for the events.

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Rural Hub

Co-ordinator

Jane Hampson
E: info@ruralhub.org.uk

Tel: 07780 159291

 

 

 

 

Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

Henry Lucas (Chair)
Rosemary Collier
Amy Brant
Karen Ellis
Marion Perrett Pearson
Carrie Robbins
Alexandra Robinson

 

 

 

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

 

 

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