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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Recent Developments

Do you farm in the Arden area of Warwickshire?

The Arden Farm Wildlife Network is a group for farmers and land managers which helps to support the environmental management they are doing on their farms in the Arden landscape area in Warwickshire. We have the following training sessions organised for December:

Tuesday 3rd December 6.30pm – Lapwings, their habitats, reasons for decline and how we can help

Wednesday 11th December 10am – 12.00pm – Small Woodland Management and creation

If you farm in the Arden area and would like to come along to any of the events please contact me for further details:

Zoe Bell

07980 771872


Keep up to date with weather advice from AHDB

For anyone involved in agriculture, adapting to the vagaries of the weather is a constant.  You can stay up-to-date with the latest advice on planning for and coping with weather events of all kinds on the AHDB Weather page.  There is advice on how to deal with the current wet weather and Met Office warnings.  Visit the page here.

NFU Mutual launch their Agri Tech Report

Investing in agri-tech needs careful planning and consideration which is why NFU Mutual has worked with a number of experts to produce an agri-tech report. This report aims to help farmers make the right choices to farm sustainably, profitably and safely. It will share insight, expert views and case studies relating to a range of agri-tech developments, including precision growing, livestock sensors, autonomous tractors and drones.

Download your copy from this page.

Harness the economic and environmental potential of hemp

27 November – Stoneleigh Park

The Product Earth mission is to connect, educate & inform those interested in wellbeing, sustainability & health with quality hemp, CBD & cannabis businesses in a safe & trusted environment.  The team would like to invite the Warwickshire agricultural community to learn more about the economic, environmental and ecological impact of hemp at an event at Stoneleigh Park on 27 November.  The hemp farming industry is one of the fastest growing in the world. Growing at 400% annually, in the US and 300% annually in continental Europe.  However, the UK is lagging behind and key to catching up is an understanding of hemp and its potential applications in a wide variety of consumer industries. This is a huge opportunity for British farmers.

To find out more about the opportunity visit this page to book your ticket for the free event.

Nature Friendly Farming Network publish a guide to net zero carbon in farming

Net zero carbon refers to achieving an overall balance between emissions produced and emissions taken out of the atmosphere. Achieving net zero is required to meet the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep global temperatures below a 1.5°C rise above pre-industrial levels.  To achieve the scale of change needed, action must be taken now to reduce emissions and lay the foundations for the longer-term transformation required.  In order to help farmers achieve net zero targets Nature Friendly Farming Network has created a practical guide for farmers.

Stocksperson vacancy at Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust – Mary Arden Farm

A full-time experienced Stockperson vacancy is available at Mary Arden’s Farm near Stratford on Avon, which is open to the public.  The farm is organic and uses traditional methods of farming in keeping with the Tudor period.  This is an exciting opportunity for someone experienced with a range of livestock, passionate about traditional farming and who enjoys interacting with people.   The closing date for applications is Sunday 24th November 2019.  If you would like to know more and to apply please go to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust jobs website

For an informal discussion about the role please contact Isabelle Butterworth, Farm Manager on 01789 338527.

Coventry Corsairs Rugby Club

Coventry Corsairs is Coventry’s first fully inclusive Rugby Club. They train at Coventrians in Holbrooks on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings 7pm – 8.30pm.   All ages and abilities and anyone with a love of rugby are welcome.  For contact details please visit this page.


Shared rural mobile network

The Government has confirmed it will support a £530 million proposal from the UK’s mobile network operators for a Shared Rural Network with the potential for it to be matched by £500 million investment from Government. This would be a world-first deal with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone investing in a network of new and existing phone masts they would all share. Consumers will be able to rely on their own provider’s network to use their mobile phones wherever they are. It is hoped a final agreement will be signed early next year.

AHDB form new Livestock Information Company

The Livestock Information Programme has created a new company called Livestock Information Limited to manage the development and implementation of the Livestock Information Service.  Livestock Information Ltd is a subsidiary of The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and is 51% owned by AHDB, with Defra owning the remaining 49%. Livestock Information Ltd will work collaboratively with industry and Government to develop a world-leading multi-species livestock information service for cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and deer to be implemented from late 2020.  Defra will be funding the statutory elements of the Livestock Information Service, while AHDB will manage the creation of new value-adding products which will drive wider benefits for the meat and livestock sector.

EA Key Actions for Farmers are updated

Key Actions for Farmers are a consistent set of integrated actions which farmers can take to manage environmental impacts which will help to:

Protect soil health, water and air quality
Reduce and manage flooding
Secure water resources
Adapt to a changing climate

The aim is present a clear set of messages and actions for farmers, and those who influence them, in a way that focuses on the interests of the farmer. The actions listed are a mix of regulatory requirements, requirements of farmers receiving payments and basic good practice farmers should consider for their business.  They were first produced in 2013, and have now been revised to reflect new legislation (e.g. Farming rules for water) and new Codes of Practice (COGAP for ammonia).  For further information visit this page.


Defra Brexit Podcasts

Defra has created a series of podcasts to help industry prepare for Brexit. You can find the series here

Topics currently include:

• Exporting
• Tariffs and the agri-food sector
• Trade agreements and the agri-food sector
• Food labelling
• Chemicals

You can also find the series by searching “Defra Podcasts” on SoundCloud.

To get ready for Brexit, also visit:

Mind your Head on #MentalHealthAwarenessDay

It’s #WorldMentalHealthDay2019 on 10 October when we are encouraging you to remember its OK not be OK.  Take a look at the Yellow Wellies Mind Your Head page to see where you can access support when the going gets tough.   Remember its OK to reach out – the Farming Community Network support line is open every day of the year, 7.00am – 11.00pm.

Tel: 03000 111999 or email



Over 70 events confirmed in Coventry and Warwickshire business festival

The third Coventry and Warwickshire Business Festival strongly reflects industry needs in 2019 and the 70 bespoke events champion quality over quantity. There are a variety of events from networking opportunities, seminars on how to protect your business, workshops tailored to teach you new practical skills, dealing with challenges and much more.  Nearly all events are free and are available for anyone to attend, however, tickets must be booked online in advance to avoid disappointment.  View the events and book your ticket on this page.  The festival takes place over 11 – 21 November.

New rural crime team for Warwickshire

Warwickshire Police has announced the launch of the first Warwickshire Rural Crime Team dedicated to reducing rural crime across the county.   The role of the team is to deliver the Rural Crime Strategy which focusses on the significant issues affecting farmers, businesses and rural communities such as livestock offences, Op Hillman to address the theft and illegal butchery of sheep, acquisitive crime such as the theft of farm machinery, plant and machinery, to the issue of fly tipping.  The team will work closely with the other teams within Warwickshire Police to support them in tackling some of these issues.  Each officer will have geographical ownership of a part of Warwickshire. Their first priority will be to start building up links with the rural community, developing relationships and recognising where we need to address emerging trends in line with our strategy.

The team consists of Sgt Bob Shaw, PC Andy Timmins, PC Kate Taylor, PC Craig Purcell, PC Andy King and RCO Carol Cotterill.

Water Primrose alert

Water primrose, which was introduced into the UK as an ornamental aquatic plant, is invading ponds, lakes, wetlands and waterbodies.  It forms dense mats which exclude native species, degrade amenity use and may increase flood risk. It is now banned from sale in the UK, but it has been found in a variety of waterbodies, especially, ponds, fisheries and wetlands. The Environment Agency is coordinating the eradication of existing infestations. To date, 39 sites have been found, 14 of which are believed to have been eradicated. If you find water primrose, report it at More information on identifying water primrose is available on the Non-native Species Secretariat website.

Euro exchange rate for BPS 2019 is set

The euro exchange rate for calculating BPS 2019 payments has been set. The rate, an average of the European Central Bank exchange rates set in September, will be €1 = £0.89092.

BPS payments for England are set in euros and then converted into sterling. The previous year’s exchange rates for BPS were:

  • BPS 2018: €1 = £0.89281
  • BPS 2017: €1 = £0.89470

The RPA will make full payments on BPS 2019 claims later this year, with funds being directly made into bank accounts by BACS transfer.

Calf survival index by AHDB

Improved management for calf rearing has always been a focus for dairy farmers and the new Calf Survival Index by the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board allows breeders to approach this on a genetic level.  To download your copy visit this page.

Survey on general licences for wild bird control

Defra is seeking views and evidence on how we should use general licences for wild birds.  This is the next phase of the review of general licences to kill or take wild birds in England, consisting of a survey, supported by workshops.   The consultation closes on 5 December.   Take part in the survey here.

Eight farmers are referred to their GP at Rural Hub/FCN wellbeing event

Farmers visiting Rugby Livestock Mart café on Monday 16 September found more on offer than the usual bacon butty and cup of tea as the building was the focus of a wellbeing event organised by Warwickshire Rural Hub and Farming Community Network.  Farmers present in the café were invited to share any health or welfare concerns with representatives from MacMillan Cancer Support, Addington Fund, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution and Farming Community Network. In addition, two nurses from Parish Nursing were available for blood pressure testing and health advice and a massage therapist was on hand to offer a quick, free massage to help relieve tension. Copies of the FCN booklet “Fit for Farming” were distributed free of charge.

By the end of the event forty-five farmers had had their blood pressure checked, eight farmers were referred to their GP by the nurses and nine people volunteered for a massage. Bowel and prostate cancer were the two issues raised most frequently with the representative from MacMillan Cancer Support.

Due to its success it is hoped to repeat the wellbeing event in the new year.

Update on Agriculture Bill

The Government failed to present a motion to MPs to carry over the existing Agriculture Bill prior to this session of Parliament being prorogued. This means that a new version of the Bill will now need to be introduced in the next Queen’s Speech and begin its legislative passage right back at the beginning of the process.  There is now no guarantee that all that the legislation will be in place to enable the Government to begin its planned transition to a new farm support system in 2021.

Get advice on farm diversification

A new magazine aimed at farmers and landowners with diversification plans has recently been launched. Farm Diversity offers news and views from the industry on a range of agricultural topics, and also features the products and services which can help rural businesses make diversity a success.

To subscribe to a e-newsletter or the printed magazine (free of charge) please visit their website.  

Read a Lodders article on HS2 scenarios

The Real Estate Team of Lodders solicitors – business supporters of the Rural Hub – has pulled together some advice for landowners who have already sold land to HS2.  What will happen to the land if the scheme is mothballed or abandoned altogether?  Read the full article here.

Home Office clarifies Immigration Policy

The Home Office has clarified that EU nationals will be able to come to the UK to live and work from the 31 October in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It had previously been announced that the government planned to end freedom of movement, meaning that EU citizens would only be able to come to the UK for short term visits post-Brexit, unless they had settled or pre-settled status. The announcement clarifies that EU nationals will still be able to come to the UK to live and work in a no-deal Brexit scenario after 31 October 2019. This will be possibly be for a transition period of 14 months until 31 December 2020. Applications to the EU Settlement Scheme can be made here.

Farming is Changing leaflet post Brexit

Defra has published a leaflet which sets out the latest information on farming policy in England after Brexit. It will be updated as needed and aims to remove some uncertainty. It gives information that farmers and those in the farming industry might need to get ready for the coming changes, such as:

  • phasing out direct payments
  • changing how we work together
  • changing rules and regulations
  • grant programmes

To view the leaflet please visit this page.

HS2 to be reviewed to examine costs and benefits

The government is launching a review of high-speed rail link HS2 – with a “go or no-go” decision by the end of the year, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said.  It will consider whether and how the project to connect London, the Midlands and northern England should proceed. The review will be chaired by Douglas Oakervee, a civil engineer and former chair of HS2 Ltd. A final report will be sent to the government in the autumn.

Information for farmers affected by HS2

Guides for farmers and growers on HS2 proposed approach to handling agricultural property matters have been published. They provide a single source of information for all those affected by the new route. There will eventually be a bespoke guide for each affected farmer.

The guides comprise 3 parts:

  • part 1 contains general policies and guidance on key issues, including land acquisition, land access, construction, land restoration and compensation.
  • in part 2, further explanatory notes on land acquisition and temporary occupation are included.
  • in part 3 is an example of the content that will be tailored to an individual farmer. The principles set out in the guide will be adhered to during the detailed design and construction of the railway.

You can access the information here.

Key dates for BPS, CS and ES

The Rural Payments Agency has put together a timeline of the important dates for 2019 to be aware of for Basic Payments Scheme, Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship.   The dates and further information are available on the RPA website.  Alternatively you can download the calendar here.

Metaldehyde slug pellets to be banned from spring 2020

Defra Secretary the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP has confirmed that slug pellets containing Metaldehyde will be banned from spring 2020. It will be legal to sell Metaldehyde products for outdoor use for the next six months, with use of the products then allowed for a further 12 months. (Posted 19.12.18)

Download the Guide to Cross Compliance in England 2019

The new guide to Cross Compliance rules in England for 2019 can be downloaded here.

There are no confirmed policy changes to the rules for 2019.  However, please be aware that for SMR 1 Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) land that was in an NVZ for the first time in 2017, transitional arrangements have been in place to not meet some of the NVZ rules. These arrangements come to an end in July 2019, when the requirement to meet all the NVZ rules starts on 31 July 2019. For more information read SMR 1: Nitrate Vulnerable Zones on page 39 of the guide.

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

"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

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 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
Paul Rice
Carrie Robbins
Alexandra Robinson
James Walton





Hub Steering Group Members

Luke Ryder, NFU
Mark Dickin, Ellacotts Accountants
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
Alexandra Robinson, Wright Hassall LLP
Jef Tuyn, Agricultural Consultant
Matt Willmott, King's Seeds
Jon 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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