Warwickshire Rural Hub
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.
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.
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.
New project offers free farm plans for farmers in the Leam catchment
With funding from the Environment Agency, existing partners Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and Severn Rivers Trust are working with Zoe Bell and the Warwickshire Rural Hub to complete a new project in the Leam catchment offering:
free whole farm plans
a webinar programme
a farm cluster group
The whole farm plans will include soil analysis giving recommendations for natural flood management and water improvement measures. Funding is available for under-sowing maize, leaky dams, attenuation ponds, rainwater harvesting, cover crops and much more.
To book a free and confidential whole-farm plan please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone her on 07923 220393
Red Tractor 2021 standards review requests feedback
Red Tractor routinely reviews its standards every three to four years across all sectors to ensure members farm in a way that meets industry and best practice requirements. Red Tractor wants to hear from as many people as possible to ensure that the scheme’s standards continue to be meaningful to government and consumers, and ensure that members can meet market requirements, so that British produce is well placed to capitalise on the new trade opportunities which will come from Britain’s exit from the European Union. Alongside the comprehensive review of our on-farm standards, they are also asking for views on Red Tractor and what matters to you and your business. Click here for details of how to submit your views. The consultation closes on 5 March,
AHDB issues yellow rust watch list for winter wheat
AHDB has issued a yellow rust watch list to help flag winter wheat varieties most likely to perform out of line with the disease ratings published in the AHDB Recommended Lists (RL). The watch list, which orders varieties based on yellow rust levels from the three worst RL trials (for each variety), can help identify those most likely to benefit from closer monitoring. AHDB plans to update the watch list annually, The RL 2021/22 booklet edition is now available. To download it or to access the watch list, visit ahdb.org.uk/rl
New BASIS trainee membership scheme is launched
Until now to become associated with BASIS it has been a requirement to have successfully passed one of their accredited qualifications. The new BASIS Trainee Membership has been established to provide an opportunity for individuals to receive the support and guidance they require at the start of their career, and can act as a stepping stone towards BASIS courses and the full Professional Register in the future. For full information please visit this page.
New bank Oxbury is launched which puts farmers first
Do you farm in the Leam or Upper Avon catchment?
The Warwickshire Rural Hub and the Warwickshire Avon Catchment Partnership are looking to set up a farmer-led group in the Leam and Upper Avon catchment that delivers support and knowledge to help the members adapt to the changes ahead. By working together farmers and land owners can share experiences and potentially access funding which will help deliver far greater benefits for soil, water and wildlife at a landscape scale. The success of this approach has been evidenced in the Arden Farm Wildlife Network which has been running for three years.
If you are interested in being part of this group please contact Zoe Bell on email@example.com
CW Chamber launches new mentoring scheme for women in business
Aspiring businesswomen in Warwickshire are invited to benefit from the experience and expertise of 21 female leaders as part of a new programme. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has opened applications for its 21in21 Women in Business Mentoring Programme that will pair successful female business leaders with women who can tap into their knowledge to help them either move up the career ladder, grow their own business or more generally provide support with professional development. Mentors have been handpicked from a range of sectors and backgrounds from across the region. Full details and a link to an online application form for the programme can be found on this page.
New code of conduct to ensure a fairer dairy supply chain
Following a consultation process in 2020 the government has announced it will develop a new statutory Code of Conduct for the dairy sector, using section 29 of the Agriculture Act 2020, to increase fairness in the supply chain and help farmers become more competitive. Building on the evidence shared as part of the consultation, the new statutory code will seek to provide a guiding framework, establishing minimum standards but also providing businesses with the flexibility to adapt contracts to their individual circumstances. Further engagement with industry remains necessary to develop the standards to be specified within this framework. For further information please visit this page.
Win the loan of a New Holland tractor for one year with PCF
The Prince’s Countryside Fund and New Holland have launched the Up to Speed Scheme, an exciting opportunity for three lucky farmers to win the loan of a New Holland machine for a full year. There are three machines available as part of the scheme; a Boomer Compact tractor, a T6 tractor and a TH telehandler. The Scheme is aimed at British farmers who could use the machine to develop their farming enterprise. This may be:
New website to help businesses navigate trading after Brexit
Growth Hubs throughout the West Midlands are working together to encourage all business to ‘Check, Change and Go’ following the end of the transition period and the UK’s exit from the EU. A new website has been launched to provide impartial information to help businesses stay informed about the changes that affect them and take advantage of new opportunities arising from the new rules which came into force from January 1. The website – www.wmgrowthhubs-eusupport.co.uk – provides information on the local and national business support that is available for SMEs to find the help they need. It gives details of events and workshops to be held to guide businesses through the maze of changes and maximise the new opportunities. There is also the opportunity to complete an EU Transition Support Questionnaire to request specialist support needed by your business and sign up for updates.
Farmers required to take part in ELMS tests and trials
Landscape Recovery is one of the three components of the Environmental Land Management scheme. It will support the delivery of landscape and ecosystem recovery through long-term, land use change projects. These projects can deliver a wide variety of environmental outcomes and support local environmental priorities while making an important contribution to national targets.
Defra is now seeking farmer volunteers to contribute to the design of the new Landscape Recovery component via tests and trials. The test and trials will harness their ideas and conduct research towards understanding how parts of the new scheme work in a real-life environment. To register to take part in the scheme please visit this page. An expression of interest must be return to Defra by 30 April.
No late filing penalty for those who file self assessment return by 28 February
Self Assessment customers who cannot file their tax return by the 31 January 2021 deadline will not receive a late filing penalty if they file online by 28 February. Taxpayers are still obliged to pay their bill by 31 January. Interest will be charged from 1 February on any outstanding liabilities. Taxpayers who cannot afford to pay their tax bill on time can apply online to spread their bill over up to 12 months. But they will need to file their 2019 to 2020 tax return before setting up a time to pay arrangement, so HMRC is encouraging everyone to do this as soon as possible. Customers can apply for self-serve Time to Pay via GOV.UK. Interest will be applied to any outstanding balance from 1 February 2021. For full information please visit this page.
Business advisers appointed to support Worcestershire businesses
Worcestershire Business Central has selected several new business advisers to provide support to companies across the county. The support from these advisers is free to businesses and delivered in a 1-1 format with some larger events coming later this quarter. These advisers cover a series of business challenges such as marketing, new technology, finance and green energy. Businesses interested in accessing these free advisers must have been operational for at least one year, employ at least 3 people and have a minimum turnover of £100K. For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications open for a Nuffield Farming Scholarship
Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust aims to inspire passion in people and develop their potential to lead positive change in farming and food. T hey award life-changing scholarships that unlock individual potential and broaden horizons through study and travel overseas, with a view to developing the farming and agricultural industries. Each year Nuffield Farming Scholarships are awarded to approximately 20 deserving individuals working in farming, horticulture, forestry or any other countryside and ancillary industry – or are in a position to influence those who do. Applicants must be aged between 22 and 45 years (the upper age limit is 45 on 31st July in the year of application). To apply for a scholarship please visit this page. The closing date for applications is 31 July.
Do you farm in the Arrow or Alne catchments?
Warwickshire Wildlife Trust is developing a Catchment Vision for the rivers Arrow and Alne, with a focus on flooding aspects and run off. A well-attended session was held in December by Zoom to start identifying key areas for walkovers and potential project locations to help address flooding, erosion of banks, and excess sedimentation. If you farm anywhere within the catchment area of the rivers and tributaries, and would be interested in being involved and in permitting a walkover along stretches of the rivers, please contact Gina Rowe: email@example.com or Tim Precious-Li: firstname.lastname@example.org The aim is to identify and broadly cost up projects to seek resources from April 2021. Thanks are given to several landowners who have already offered locations. This work is supported by the Environment Agency.
RABI Big Farming Survey launches today (11 Jan)
On 11 January the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) launched the largest ever research project relating to the well-being of the farming community. This wide ranging survey will consider for the first time the relationship between physical health, mental wellbeing and the farm business. RABI has an ambitious target of gathering 26,000 survey responses and is asking everyone in the sector to support the project. Their Chief Executive says “by setting aside 15 minutes to complete the survey, you’ll be contributing towards creating an accurate picture of farming life today. The data that’s collected will enable RABI and our partners to develop effective tools and support strategies for farming people in years to come.”
Conducted by the University of Exeter, the survey is open to all farmers, farm workers, their spouses and adult-aged children until 31 March 2021.
Respond to Defra consultation on the regulation of genetic technology
Announced by the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, at the Oxford Farming Conference the consultation could unlock substantial benefits to nature and the environment, helping farmers produce more resilient crops and to produce healthier, more nutritious food. The consultation will focus on stopping certain gene editing organisms from being regulated in the same way as genetic modification, as long as they could have been produced naturally or through traditional breeding. Aside from gene editing, the consultation will also begin a longer-term project to gather evidence on updating our approach to genetic modification by gathering information on what controls are needed and how best to deliver them. The consultation closes on 17 March 2021. To respond please visit this page.
Addington Fund seeks building land for development of retirement homes
The farming charity Addington Fund is looking to buy a limited number of retirement homes for farmers who want to retire but cannot contemplate it on financial grounds. These can be purchased out right by Addington or on a shared equity basis using a declaration of trust agreement. If you would like more information, please call Sue English on 01926 620135 opt 2 or email email@example.com
The charity is also looking to create the first Addington Fund owned retirement cul-de-sac for retired farmers and agriculturists. They are looking for a suitable development of up to five houses/bungalows in a suitable rural location with sympathetic like-minded partners as a builder or a landowner. Addington Fund is happy to assist with planning applications. Please contact Bill Young on 07909 538426 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Five key points about the agricultural transition plan
The National Farmers’ Union policy team has pulled together 5 key points that farmers need to know about Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan, which will see a move away from direct payments to other types of payments between 2021 – 2028. You can read the article here.
Trading with the EU from 1 January 2021
The UK has agreed a free trade agreement with the EU based on zero tariffs and zero quotas, meaning businesses will be able to continue to trade, selling to their customers in the EU, and people will be able to continue to buy goods from Europe tariff-free. Visit this page for full information on the actions that you and your business will need to take from 1 January 2021.
Read the statistics on farm business income in England 2019/20
Defra has published its annual statistics on farm business income in England for 2019/20. The figures represents the financial return to all unpaid labour on their capital invested in the farm business, including land and buildings. It is designed to compare performance across different types of farming. The average Farm Business Income in 2019 /20 was £46,000. A combination of reduced prices and increased costs led to lower incomes, with output virtually unchanged. Read the full report here.
Coventry University Business School launches scheme to help small businesses
Coventry University Business School is launching a scheme to help leaders of small businesses survive and thrive as they deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Business Leadership Programme (SBLP) that will support senior business leaders to enhance their business’s resilience and recovery from the impact of COVID-19. The SBLP is accredited by the SBC and is funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The practical syllabus will be available online and will provide business leaders with access to small business and management experts from Coventry University Business School. It will also give businesses the opportunity to strengthen their business network. To apply for the free 10 week Small Business leadership Programme please register your interest. Cohorts are available online starting the 14th and 15th January 2021. Read more here.
New field guide for those interested in woodland creation
A new field guide to woodland creation and priority open habitats has been published by the Forestry Commission and is aimed at landowners or their agents. The guide includes the following information:
- a definition of priority habitats
- information on the extent of priority habitats in England
- the eight principles applied when considering woodland creation on or near to a priority open habitat
- an overview of priority open habitats – their definition, characteristic plants and associated national vegetation communities (NVC)
- conservation issues and indicators of poor condition
- surveys to inform suitability for woodland creation
You can access the guide here.
Hartpury University launches new agri-tech centre to share knowledge
The Hartpury Digital Farming Network will keep UK farmers in touch with the latest technological advancements in the agriculture industry to help them become more productive and sustainable. Created by the Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre at Hartpury University and Hartpury College, the new initiative provides the agriculture community with an opportunity to share knowledge and experience, and to collaborate in carrying out industry-led testing and trials for the latest digital technologies. Farmers and tech businesses interested in finding out more about the Hartpury Digital Farming Network, or about working with the Agri-Tech Centre, should email email@example.com
Understand the quality and condition of your grain with the HGCA guide
Understanding the quality and condition of grain is crucial. Accurate sampling should help to reduce waste and minimise charges, claims and rejections. This guide from the Home Grown Cereals Authority (AHDB) brings together the key requirements for effective grain sampling for everyone involved, from growing to purchasing. It seeks to minimise duplication of effort, maximising efficiency. Read the guide here.
AHDB guidance on preparing for the end of transition period after Brexit
The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board has pulled together a range of guidance on how farmers should prepare for the end of the transition period for our exit from the EU on 1 January 2021. The subject covers include farming and growing, importing and exporting, labelling products, protecting the environment and EU labour. Visit this page for full information.
Government unveils path to sustainable farming from 2021
Plans to deliver a better, fairer farming system in England have been set out by government. They will transform the way farmers are supported, in the most significant change to farming and land management in 50 years. The roadmap outlines changes that will come into force over a period of seven years to help farmers adapt and plan for the future. The changes will be designed to ensure that by 2028, farmers in England can sustainably produce healthy food profitably without subsidy, whilst taking steps to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare and reduce carbon emissions. Read more here.
The 28-page booklet “Farming is Changing” can be read as a pdf copy or you can order a physical copy free of charge.
CFE publish Net Zero Action guidance
As part of their ongoing commitment to support the farming industry towards net zero emissions and climate change mitigation, Championing the Farmed Environment has launched eight new guidance pages to help farmers and land managers start their net zero journey. They have also reviewed their Farm Carbon Calculator summaries, to help farmers choose the right tool for them, and published Aim-Action-Results pages. Visit this page to read more.
The Land App – manage all your data, projects and team from a single place
New employment hub to advertise job vacancies
Coventry and Warwickshire Employment Solutions has been created as a free tool for businesses and job seekers to counter the rising levels of unemployment. The initiative will connect employers and job seekers to a range of services and bring together partners and industry experts to provide access to advice and support for businesses and individuals. The new portal has been funded by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) in partnership with Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and the FSB. It will collate current vacancies, and will be updated daily, into one, user-friendly job search tool, providing employers and recruiters with the opportunity to advertise job openings and find advice regarding job retention, upskilling and redundancy support. Visit this page for further information.
Support for small businesses facing making redundancies
The Coventry & Warwickshire Redundancy Support Service is a collaborative service created by Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and partners such as Department for Working & Pensions, CWLEP and many more. The service is designed to support local businesses through these turbulent times as they make some quite difficult decisions in the months and, possibly, years ahead. The CWRSS can offer a wide variety of support from E-packs to workshops and one-to-one sessions. All Coventry and Warwickshire businesses will have opportunity to access services with a dedicated support team to help them work through the services and options available. For further information please visit this page.
Are you ready for our exit from the EU?
The UK is leaving the EU single market and customs union and the end of the transition period on 1 January 2021 will affect citizens and businesses, as well as travel to and from the EU. The UK Transition website will allow you to answer a set of questions to receive a personalised list of actions. You can also sign up for emails to receive updates on actions for you, your family and your business.
A425 out of Southam to be closed for 9 months
The contractors working on behalf of HS2 ltd will be closing a section of the A425 Leamington Road near Southam and the public right of way (PRoW) SM24 in order to safely excavate a 15-metre-deep trench and construct the “cut-and-cover” section of the Long Itchington Wood Tunnel. The road and public right of way will be closed from 26 October 2020 for a period of up to nine months. A diversion will be in place for cyclists and road users. A diversion notification for the PRoW will be placed at SM24 access points providing details of the alternative PRoW routes available. Access will be maintained for businesses and residents within the section of the road that is closed. The contractors will be installing “Businesses open as usual” signs for businesses leading up to the road closure.
Public concern grows over impact of pandemic on UK food supplies
Calls have been made for farmers to have increased access to new technologies as public concern rises over the impact of the pandemic on UK food supplies. The public have highlighted their worry over the fragility of the food system in the face of Covid-19, climate change and possible trade interruptions. More than two thirds (66%) of adults are worried about the impact that a second wave would have on food supplies, a new YouGov survey has shown. Fears for the food system’s resilience in the face of climate change and trade interruptions after the Brexit transition period ends are also playing on public consciousness. The survey of over 2,100 adults was carried out on behalf of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC), which has called for farmers to have access to ‘all the tools available’ in order to fight the threats.
Read the full article here.
Read how to use the MAGIC geographic website
The Open Spaces Society has written a short article giving advice on how to use MAGIC. Natural England manage the MAGIC website which provides geographic information about the natural environment covering rural, urban, coastal and marine environments across Great Britain. It is presented in an interactive map which can be explored using the various mapping tools that are included.
UK competition law temporarily relaxed to help dairy industry through coronavirus
The intention is that the industry will work together to address current market challenges, avoiding waste and maintaining productive capacity to meet future demand. This builds on a previous relaxation of competition rules that allows retailers, suppliers and logistic services to work together.
Dairy UK and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) will now lead work to bring the industry together to identify spare processing capacity, how to stimulate demand and how production could be temporarily reduced.
Working towards net zero emissions for beef farmers
Farming for a Better Climate has produced some practical guides on how farmers can reduce carbon emissions from beef production. Visit this page to read the guides.
Committee on climate change – advice on agriculture and land use
The Committee on Climate Change has released its Land Use: Policies for a Net Zero UK. The report outlines what is needed for the UK to stay on track to meet its net zero requirements. The report acknowledge that British farming produces some of the most sustainable food in the world, highlighting that emissions from UK beef is half that of the global average. The report also emphasises that we cannot risk importing food with a higher carbon footprint than food which has been produced in the UK. You can read the full report here.
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.
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.
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.
The Metaldehyde Stewardship Group has produce “A guide to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and slug control”.
To view the guide use the link below.
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.
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.
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