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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.

Funding available for innovative business ideas

Up to £25 million is available through Innovate UK’s Smart programme to invest in innovative business projects across any technology area. Projects must show that they will exploit game-changing ideas to develop new products, processes and services that will have significant economic impact. The competition opens on 9 January 2020, and the deadline for applications is at midday on 22 April 2020. Businesses of any size may apply, and all applications must include a micro, small or medium-sized company. Projects can range in size from £25,000 to £2 million and last between 6 and 36 months.

Further information is available on this page.  

Countryside Stewardship application window opens

The application window for the Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme opened on 11 February.   All CS agreements confirmed by the end of 2020 will be funded for their full lifetime.  Farmers and land managers who are new to taking on environmental work or with expired or expiring Environmental Stewardship agreements can apply for:

• Mid Tier (closing date 31 July)
• Higher Tier (closing date 1 May)
• Wildlife Offers (closing date 31 July)
• Hedgerows and Boundaries (closing date 1 May)
• Woodland support

To apply and find out more visit GOV.UK.    The Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) partnership can support applications for Mid Tier capital grants to improve water and air quality in a high priority area.  If your holding is in a High Water Quality Priority Area, contact your local CSF Officer for advice by 31 May.

Key dates in 2020 for the Rural Payments Agency

Visit this page for the key dates in 2020 for Basic Payment Scheme, Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship. The timeline also includes some of the things that you need to do to meet the cross compliance and Ecological Focus Area (EFA) /greening requirements of your application(s).

Stepped approach for new plant health regulations

Following extensive engagement from across industry Defra has confirmed that they will be taking a ‘stepped approach’ towards implementation of the new Plant Health Regulation, including the requirements around plant passports. In implementing the regulation Defra and APHA will focus their efforts on supporting growers to ensure that they are fully compliant with the regulation. More information is available on NFU Online.

Complete the NFU end of season horticultural survey

The NFU continues to lobby hard to highlight the importance of seasonal workers to the horticultural sector and the significant labour shortages that growers continued to see through 2019.  Thanks to growers’ support, NFU was able to secure the seasonal worker pilot scheme in 2018 and the election commitment from Government to expand the scheme, but there is still much work needed to ensure that immediate shortages can be addressed and a fully functioning scheme that is fit for purpose is introduced.  To help NFU demonstrate the impacts of labour shortages in 2019 and strengthen their call for a greater level of government support, growers are ask to complete NFU’s End of 2019 Season Horticulture Survey.    Please Click here to begin the survey which takes about 10 minutes to complete.

Claiming BPS in extreme weather conditions

The Rural Payments Agency has provided guidance for farmers who are claiming Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) in 2020 and are experiencing difficulties due to heavy rain and flooding. The RPA has advised that temporarily flooded land is still eligible for BPS claims. Clarification has been provided for farmers who may struggle to meet their crop diversity requirements (the 3 crop rule) and qualify for the greening element of the payment. The following information will be helpful if you are in this position. Read more here

No change to greening requirements in 2020

There will be no changes to the greening requirements during 2020. Updated 2020 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) guidance will be issued later in the year. Until then, you can refer to the ‘Basic Payment Scheme: rules for 2019’ for details of the greening requirements.  Further information is here.  

Defra podcast to help farmers prepare for transition period after EU exit

At 11pm on 31 January 2020 the UK will leave the EU and embark on the transitional period which ends on 31 December 2020.   In partnership with Farmers Weekly magazine, Defra has recorded a podcast on funding for farmers.

Key facts about payments in 2020:

  1. Direct Payments will continue for 2020 with the available funding the same as for 2019.
  2. The UK government will also fund existing Rural Development Programme (RDPE) projects and those approved by 31 December 2020 until those projects end.
  3. To get payments, you’ll need to follow the same standards as you do now. This includes on-site inspections of UK farms. The current framework of rules and processes will stay the same until Defra and the devolved administrations introduce new agriculture policies and schemes.

BBC Dragon’s Den seeks new business ideas

The BBC are now in production of series 18 of Dragons’ Den and on the hunt for business ideas, inventions or products with serious business potential that are hungry for investment.   Dragons’ Den is a challenging place to pitch, but it’s also a genuine business opportunity to secure investment. In the current series 27 entrepreneurs accepted offers of investment in the Den with a combined total of almost £2 million invested by the Dragons, with plenty more achieving success after taking on board the Dragons’ advice.  Entrepreneurs wanting to apply can do so by emailing the Casting Researcher, Jessica, on

37 ways to improve your internet speed

Visit this website for 37 suggestions of how you might be able to improve your internet speed.  There is also information on how to check your current download and upload speeds.

Young farmers’ music festival takes place in Warwickshire

The Young Farmers’ Music Festival is taking place at Offchurch Bury near Leamington Spa between 19 -21 June 2020.  Over 20 music arts are already confirmed for the event and a number of performance slots have been set aside for new a local acts.  Traders are also invited to apply for a stand and diversified farmers will be given priority.

The festival main arena will open on Friday afternoon at 3pm with three full days of music with 3 stages and over 60 acts getting the party started until the early hours. Saturday and Sunday will bring full days of activities with the option to leave Sunday evening or get some rest and head back home on Monday when the campsite closes at 12pm.  Several stages will provide you with different musical entertainment throughout the festival weekend. The Main Stage, Island Paradise stage, Urban Escape stage, The Retreat, Half Acre sports field and more are all there for you to explore throughout your time with us.  For full details of the event and to purchase day or full event tickets please visit this website.

Land Registry free property alerts

By signing up to the HM Land Registry property alert service you will receive an email each time there is significant activity on the property you are monitoring, such as if a new mortgage is taken out against it.  The alert will tell you the type of activity (such as an application to change the register or a notification that an application may be due), who the applicant is and the date and time it has been received.   Signing up to Property Alert won’t automatically stop fraud from happening. You will need to decide if the activity on the property is potentially fraudulent and act quickly if so. The alert email will tell you who to contact.  Read more here.  

"The Hub helps to inspire its Members to do something different, to embrace change and learn from each other."

Henry Lucas,
Warwickshire Rural Hub Chairman

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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)
Karen Ellis
Carrie Robbins
Alexandra Robinson
James Walton




Hub Steering Group Members

George Bostock, NFU
Mark Dickin, Ellacotts Accountants
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
Alexandra Robinson, Wright Hassall LLP
Matt Willmott, King's Seeds
Jon Slee, Abbey Farm
Andrew Cook, Farmer
Emlyn Evans, Squab Hall


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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