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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Recent Developments

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.

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.

NFU organise farmers’ rally in London on 25 March

The mass rally will bring together farmers, consumer representatives and experts in animal welfare and the environment, in a show of unity backing the future of British farming and underlining the role farmers play in supplying the nation with safe, traceable and affordable food, protecting our countryside and reducing carbon emissions.   There is also agreement that British farming’s world-leading standards must be safeguarded in future trade deals.  The event will take place on March 25 at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster, London.

Minette Batters, NFU President has said “This is not a protest, this is not a blockade, this is not a march.  It is a mass rally to show ambition – that we want to be global leaders, we want to be the most sustainable farmers in the world.”  Read more here.

AHDB infographics for dairy and beef industry

Agricultural and Horticulture Development Board has compiled evidence-based resources and social media infographics to support the meat and dairy industry in having positive conversations with a consistent narrative.  You can download the graphics here.

NFU organise letter to Prime Minister signed by 60 organisations

The NFU has taken the initiative and mobilised a huge coalition of farming, environmental, animal welfare and public health organisations to write a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on trade and standards, sent to coincide with the passing of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill which has now had Royal Assent.  You can read the letter in full with the 60 plus signatures here.

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.

Get help with valuing your natural capital

A new online resource has been launched by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to help ensure better environmental decision-making by valuing our ‘natural capital’.  For the first time, a comprehensive and integrated set of evidence and guidance about UK natural capital is now accessible from one place. It is intended to help policy makers, businesses, landowners and public sector organisations make better planning decisions in order to protect and to boost natural capital.  You can access the resource here.

Track the progress of the new Agriculture Bill

The Agriculture Bill’s introduction has given Defra the opportunity to make improvements to the original Agriculture Bill introduced in 2018, taking into account feedback from those working in the agricultural sector.  Defra has produced a short summary of the Bill and what’s new. You can also view a short video on the Bill, and see what the Secretary of State has to say about its introduction via this link.  You can also keep track of the Bill’s progress through Parliament via this link. 

There will be a seven-year transition period – from 2021 to the end of 2027 – so that farmers can plan and adjust to a new domestic farming system.  For more information, you can read the Defra ‘Farming is Changing’ leaflet.

Defra Secretary of State speaks at Oxford Farming Conference

Radical changes to agricultural policy will protect the environment for future generations while boosting productivity for farmers, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said today (8 January).  Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference, the Environment Secretary confirmed that the Government’s landmark Agriculture Bill will be introduced this month to Parliament.  This will move the UK away from the EU’s bureaucratic Common Agricultural Policy and towards a new approach where farmers and land managers are rewarded with public money for ‘public goods’ – such as enhancing biodiversity, tackling climate change and raising standards of animal welfare.  At the same time, outside the EU farmers and land managers will have greater opportunities to boost their productivity, leading to more successful and resilient farm businesses.  In England, there will be a seven-year transition period for farmers to plan and adjust for these changes, during which Direct Payments will be gradually phased out.  Throughout 2020, the Government will be seeking views from farmers and land managers in England on how the future Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme can best work for them.

The full speech by Theresa Villiers MP can be viewed here.

Read the RPA winter update

The winter update from the Rural Payments Agency is available here.  In this edition you can read all about information on payments, flooding, woodland support grants and how to update your information and avoid fraud.

Deadline for new abstraction licences extended

The Environment Agency has announced that the New Authorisations transition window for new abstraction licence applications has been extended for six months to the end of June 2020. The original deadline for submitting validated applications to the Environment Agency was 31 December 2019. Further information is available here.

£3 billion of support for farmers announced

The Chancellor has confirmed nearly £3 billion of funding for 2020 to support farmers once the UK leaves the EU. The cash injection will maintain the level of funding for Direct Payments at the same rate as last year.  Sajid Javid confirmed the cash will be used to support farmers once the UK leaves the EU. The UK will leave the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Direct Payments scheme, which supports farmers across Europe with subsidies in 2020. This will be replaced by a new system based on public money for public goods.  The cash injection will allow the funding for Direct Payments for 2020 to continue at the same level as 2019 and supplement the remaining EU funding that farmers will receive for development projects until 2023 at the latest. The government will guarantee the current annual budget to farmers in every year of the Parliament.

Have you had filter blocking issues in agricultural vehicles?

The NFU and NFU Scotland have been receiving reports of filter blocking issues in agricultural vehicles and machinery across England and Scotland. The issues began in August and are suspected to be related to the quality and possible composition of red diesel. The reports are of fuel filters in farm machinery blocking up unusually quickly, needing to be replaced far more frequently than expected.  NFU is urging any farmer who has experienced the same problem to complete a survey to help gauge the level and geographic spread of the problem.   The results will help them to understand the causes of problems and what actions can be taken.   For more details, and to complete the survey, please visit to NFU Online.

New NFU county advisers for Warwickshire and Worcestershire

Warwickshire and Worcestershire NFU County adviser Luke Ryder has now left his role to join the Stratford on Avon and Shipston on Stour NFU Mutual agency as a Group Secretary.  We would like to thank Luke for all of his support for Rural Hub activities during his time in post and wish him well in his new role.

We would like to welcome George Bostock as the new Warwickshire NFU county adviser as from 9 December.

Emma Hamer, currently NFU’s senior plant health adviser, will become the Worcestershire county adviser in January.   George will be covering Warwickshire and Worcestershire until 20 January.

EA consultation on challenges of water environments

The Environment Agency has launched a consultation seeking views on the challenges and choices water environments face. Responses to this consultation will be used to update the existing river basin management plans in 2021. The Challenges and Choices consultation seeks your views on the challenges that threaten the water environment, how we can work together to manage our waters and who should pay.   More information is available on their website. The consultation closing date is 24 April 2020.

Guidance available on slurry storage issues due to wet weather

If you are concerned about slurry storage capacity due to recent wet weather the Environment Agency has put a guide together to help you look at your options, which is available from the regional office.  The guidance is also available here.  Alternatively contact your EA senior agricultural officer:

New tool to help farmers find the right ram

The newly upgraded Signet Breeding Services online tool helps commercial and pedigree producers profit from performance gains associated with genetic improvement in rams.  Designed by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and backed by AHDB, the website now has better data entry tools and improved online reporting, including the ability to produce real time genetic and inbreeding trends.  Online data entry also enables breeders to supply weights throughout an animal’s life, providing a greater understanding of overall efficiency.  It is now easier to find the genetic merit of sheep, expressed using EBVs (Estimated Breeding Values) and breeding indexes to find breeders with sheep for sale, using Flock Finder, a service that inform farmers about ram breeders in their region.  Find out more 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.

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.


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



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.

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)

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
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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