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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Recent Developments

Spending Review increases Defra’s budget for 2021/22

The Chancellor’s statement to Parliament on 25 November included an announcement that Defra’s budget for 2021/22 was increasing by almost £1 billion.  This increased budget:

  • Ensures total farm support in England of £2.415 billion in 2021/22 to meet the government’s manifesto commitment to maintain the current annual budget to farmers.
  • Provides more than £90 million for the Nature for Climate Fund.
  • Increases funding in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • Provides exceptional multi-year provision for flood and coastal defence.
  • Ensures funding for fisheries is maintained in line with the government’s manifesto commitment in 2021/22.
  • Provides support to implement flagship Environment Bill measures including biodiversity net gain for development, creating new legally binding environmental targets, and the Office for Environmental Protection.

Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull to go into Tier 3 from 2 December

Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull will be placed into Tier 3, the very highest level of restrictions, from 2 December:

  • you must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in some other outdoor public spaces
  • pubs, cafes and restaurants remain closed although they can operate a take-away service
  • gyms and leisure centres can remain open but group exercise cannot go ahead
  • all retail shops, personal care and close contact service may stay open

Read the full list of regulations on this page.  

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

The Land App supports land managers design integrated estate plans that support diversification.
The main objective is to support the development of the natural capital market and the transition to agri-environmental schemes by enabling improved decision-making. The platform enables the land management sector to work collaboratively and transfer land data more effectively.  It is a software platform that enables the user to pull in data such as boundaries, registry titles, Ordnance Survey data and Defra designations, and to build projects and schemes that support diversification by including farming and environmental activities, energy generation and alternative land uses. The platform is collaborative, allowing consultants and land managers to work together in real time to deduce the most effective use of the land assets.  For full information please visit their website.  

Boosting flock performance in sheep

This has been a very good year for sheep farmers with prices well ahead of previous years. However with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it is difficult to predict what the future might hold. Brian Hanthorn Beef and Sheep adviser from College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Dungannon, suggests that sheep farmers should focus on factors they can change which have the biggest influence on profitability within their own flock.  Read his full article here.  

What will leaving the EU mean for livestock markets?

The UK has left the EU and the transition arrangements end on 31 December 2020.   The AHDB lead livestock analysis, Duncan Wyatt, believes that livestock farmers need to be mindful that moving animals off farm could be interrupted and they should have contingency plans in place, recognising their usual buyers or abattoirs might not be taking animals with the degree of regularity they are used to at the moment.    To read Duncan’s full article please visit this page.

Warwickshire NFU County Adviser meets WCC leader

Warwickshire NFU County Adviser George Bostock recently met with Warwickshire County Council lead Cllr Isobel Seccombe.   High on the agenda was additional grant funding for agriculture in the county with the new shared prosperity fund being introduced in 2021. It was highlighted that Warwickshire remains a fundamentally green county with agriculture at the heart of the economy and was agreed that a scheme increasing farm productivity, diversification and benefitting the environment is important.  The NFU has been invited to discuss the matter once further details are released by the government on when the funds will be made available for the local authority.    Further items discussed included rural broadband, HS2, bTB, climate change ad fly tipping. Should you wish to hear more on this meeting please contact George Bostock.

Free online training courses for employees and businesses in Warwickshire

For anyone working in culture, tourism and digital roles in the Coventry and Warwickshire area, Warwickshire College Group is offering a range of free 20 hour on-line courses.  Subjects include project management, business improvement, consumer behaviour, sales skills for garden centre staff and meat and fish preserving.    Funding is only available for one course per application.  Applications for courses must be processed by 30 November 2020, and all courses and exams must be completed before 31 December 2020.   For further information please visit this page. 

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.

Using leaves as supplementary fodder for ruminants

A Woodland Trust research briefing aims to add to the growing knowledge base around the nutritional composition of tree browse and fodder and the supplementary potential for livestock. Silvopastoral systems – integrating shelter belts, hedgerows or in-field trees with grazing livestock on farms – provide animals with multiple benefits, including access to shade and shelter. Another less understood benefit is the utilisation of tree browse and fodder for nutritional and medicinal purposes.  You can read the full briefing paper here.  

Defra consultation on the banning of urea fertilizers

Defra is consulting on banning fertilisers that harm air quality and our natural environment. Ammonia is an air pollutant that is detrimental to our natural environment and is a pre-curser to particulate matter, which is detrimental to human health.   There are statutory obligations to restore our degraded habitats and to reduce our ammonia emissions by 8% by 2020 and by 16% by 2030.    The consultation seeks views on three policy options that give the greatest ammonia emission reductions from regulating the use or sale of sold urea fertilisers.  To complete the survey please visit this page. 

Confirm your details with the Rural Payments Agency

The RPA regularly updates its Rural Payments service online, to fix and enhance services.  A recently implemented change requires all users to log on and confirm their personal details are shown correctly.  Further details are on this page.  

Epoxiconazole withdrawn from sale

The fungicide epoxiconazole useful for rust and eyespot control in cereals will no longer be available for purchase in the UK. The last sell by date for all products containing epoxiconazole is 31 October 2020 with a final use date of 31 October 2021.

NFU and CLA propose temporary diversions of Public Rights of Way where livestock are present

The NFU has worked with the CLA to propose an amendment to the Highways Act 1980 that will allow for temporary diversions of public rights of way where livestock are present.  The aim of this proposal is to keep members of the public safe when using a public right of way.  Such an amendment would allow for temporary diversions to be put in place easily and quickly where livestock are present.  Such a process would provide the necessary flexibility to ensure that farmers can make best use of their available grazing and enhance the safety of public rights of way users. In order to be successful it would also need to provide adequate safeguards for the rights of way network, so provision has been made to ensure that the alternative route offered is suitable.

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust seeks new land with low existing wildlife value

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust is changing the way it acquires new nature reserves to support nature’s recovery in the county. They are going to give highest priority to acquiring land with low existing wildlife value because the potential to bring wildlife back is greatest there.  The Trust will be targeting land that is difficult to farm productively, or that has become unviable as a result of the impact of HS2 or other factors.   They are looking to secure land through purchase, donation or long term agreements in the right areas to create bigger, better and more joined up areas for wildlife and will then look to improve these sites for wildlife, increasing the overall land area which has high wildlife value across our region.   Any landowners interested in having a discussion with the Trust are asked to get in touch with ian.jelley@wkwt.org.uk

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.

New food and drink awards for Warwickshire producers

The Foodie Award is a new food and drinks awards programme for Coventry and Warwickshire to celebrate the makers, creators and providers of wonderful food, drinks and hospitality experiences.  There are several categories including farm shop, pub of the year, street food trader and artisan food producer.  Closing date for the award is 31 December 2020.  The awards are also supporting The Trussell Trust who aim to end hunger and poverty in the UK by supporting a network of food banks.

The Awards are also looking for guest judges to support in each category. These judges will be local experts from the food and drink and hospitality sectors.  Would you like to be a judge? Email hello@foodieawards.co.uk with your details for consideration.  The award categories will be judged in different ways depending on how best to determine the finalists and winners. Some will be on public vote, others on taste tests, experience, interview or performance.   To find out more about the Awards or send in an entry please visit this page.  

 

Launch of female focussed farming forum

Home on the Farm is a new online network developed to support females in farming and farming families throughout the UK. The forum is the brainchild of Milly Fyfe – industry ambassador, farmer’s wife and mother, together with the Farming Forum, Farm Safety Foundation and The Farming Community Network (FCN).  The new online community for females in farming will allow them to have conversations about issues that matter to them, concerns for their family and the future and share advice and experiences.  The Farming Forum’s new ‘Home on the Farm’ section will feature five key areas:

parenting and children on the farm
family and farming
food from the farm
partners
women in agriculture

For more information on the forum please visit www.thefarmingforum.co.uk 

 

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.  

ADAS tests reveal high level of dormancy in Blackgrass

Dr Sarah Cook, Senior Research Consultant at ADAS, has discovered that ADAS annual black-grass seed testing is pointing to high levels of dormancy which, in turn, is likely to lead to protracted germination this autumn.  The test is designed to break dormancy by growing seed in specific conditions over a fortnight; only 24% of the samples germinated.  While the result is not unusual for black-grass, it emphasises the need to delay drilling, establish a competitive crop and optimise pre-ems.   Read the full article on this page.  

Keep your stock, medicine and field records on your mobile ‘phone

AgriWebb is a cloud-based farm management app available on iOS and Android.  The app allows for on the go, offline data entry. With one touch sync, your data is made available in the web app for reporting and further analysis.  You can also see a clear picture of your farming operation with all your sheep, cattle and field records in one place and unlock valuable insights, understand inefficiencies, and make informed decisions in real-time with your data.  The cost of the app starts from £21+VAT per month, but you can trial the app free of charge for 14 days.  Visit this page for further information.

Read the 4th edition of Farm Diversity magazine online

Farm Diversity aims to guide farmers and landowners through their diversification journey, hopefully to alleviate doubts about diversifying and put people in touch with someone who can help make a new business a success – whether that’s glamping, weddings, energy production or something completely different.  In the 4th edition of their magazine you can discover how farmers across the UK are making their land more profitable thanks to more unusual projects. Also in this issue, there is a look at how farmers are diversifying their agricultural practices to bring their businesses into the 21st century, increasing productivity and cutting waste.  There is also a focus on funding, as well as articles on renewable energy, consultancy, and a whole host of news and view in the farm diversification arena.  To read the magazine online please visit this page. 

Glamping company looking for land for luxury lodges

Glamping company Oasis Habitats is looking for landowners interested in the hospitality industry, who can welcome guests to 5 luxury accommodation units installed by the company.   The land should be in or close to areas of natural beauty and within an hour and a half travel from a large town or city. In return landowners will receive a generous income to the value of 25% of the resort’s revenue profits, without the associated costly investments needed.  For further information please visit the Oasis Habitats website, email them on info@oasishabitats.com or telephone 01249 848649.

Businesses asked to report Covid-19 cases to Warwickshire Public Health

Warwickshire County Council is asking all businesses in Warwickshire to immediately contact Warwickshire Public Health 24/7 if they have two or more suspected or positive cases of Covid-19. You should also notify the Public Health England West Midlands health protection team by ringing 0344 225 3560.

Warwickshire Public Health can be contacted on dphadmin@warwickshire.gov.uk 

Some types of business may experience more rapid infection rates. If your business falls into one or more of the categories listed below, please contact Warwickshire Public Health immediately in the event of ONE positive test:

  • Food processing factories/plants;
  • Agricultural settings where seasonal staff live on site;
  • Warehouses and manufacturing sites which may be noisy (meaning staff need to shout to be heard) and where ventilation may be poor and/or social distancing may be difficult;
  • Workplaces with multiple shared facilities or high turnover of staff/visitors;
  • Workplaces with high turnover of agency staff;
  • Other workplaces where social distancing may be difficult.

By notifying then immediately of outbreaks or single cases in high risk settings you will be helping to provide the quickest possible Warwickshire response.

Low Carbon Agriculture show comes to Stoneleigh in March 2021

Low Carbon Agriculture 2021 is a vibrant new business event for forward thinking farmers, landowners and industry operators. The event will explore ways to address climate change through the generation of renewable energy, the implementation of low carbon technology and best practice in both carbon and environmental land management.  Formerly the Energy & Rural Business show, and featuring the 12th annual Energy Now Expo, the event has rebranded, relocated to Stoneleigh Park and reasserted its focus.  Visit this page for further information about the show, to book a stand space or register your interest for a free ticket.  The event takes place on 9 – 10 March 2021.

Free support and advice for getting back to business

The Professional and Business Services Sector & Enterprise Nation, supported by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, have teamed up to offer small businesses free expert advice to recover from the impact of COVID19.  Up to the 31st of December 2020 professional bodies and trade associations are mobilising experts in their sector to offer free calls on topics from accounting to advertising, HR and legal affairs.  Enterprise Nation is providing free access to the platform to enable small businesses to connect with business advisers.  To sign up to receive the advice please visit this page.  

Rural businesses rise to Covid-19 challenges by showing great innovation

Forward-thinking rural businesses are showing their innovative expertise and exploring new markets during the coronavirus outbreak, a new in-depth survey has revealed.  The data was collected by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hub via the Warwickshire Rural Hub.  The results were included in the latest CWLEP Growth Hub SmartRegion report (June 9-22) which also gathered information from the CWLEP’s business engagements and survey data, Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council, the Federation of Small Businesses and the National Farmers Union.

Of the people who responded to the Warwickshire Rural Hub survey 53% of responders were sole traders, 37% were micro businesses and10% were small or medium businesses

95% of respondents said that their business had been adversely impacted by Covid-19 with 53% seeing their business temporarily cease trading.   To cope with the impact of Covid-19 businesses had:

  • furloughed staff
  • temporarily changed their products
  • sought new supply chains
  • changed staff working patterns

But there is positive news too, which shows the resilience of our rural business community:

69% of businesses were undertaking innovation
37% of respondents were investing in their business
53% of businesses were looking to diversify
42% were exploring new markets

And a fast Broadband connection was felt to be the single most important issue for rural business development.  The Rural Hub is now working with the CW Growth Hub to analyse the results and pass on intelligence to contacts in local government to influence future support for the rural sector.

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.

Visit this page for the Open Spaces Society article and visit this page to view MAGIC.

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.

Contact: Zoe Bell
Telephone: 07980 771872
Email Address: zoecbell@outlook.com
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

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

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

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

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Contact Us

The Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC
c/o Pleasance Farm, Kenilworth
Warwickshire, CV8 1PR

Email: info@ruralhub.org.uk
Tel: 07780 159291

Company Registration No: 7026157
Registered office: 23 West Bar Street, Banbury, OX16 9SA

 

Hub Chair

Henry Lucas
E: henrylucas76@gmail.com

 

Hub

Co-ordinator

Jane Hampson
E: info@ruralhub.org.uk

Tel: 07780 159291

Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

Henry Lucas (Chair)
Graham Collier (Deputy Chair)
Karen Ellis
Carrie Robbins
Alexandra Robinson

 

Hub Steering Group Members

George Bostock, NFU
Andrew Cook, Farmer
Mark Dickin, Ellacotts Accountants
Emlyn Evans, Squab Hall
Marcus Faulkner, Sheldon Bosley Knight
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
Alexandra Robinson, Wright Hassall LLP
Matt Willmott, King's Seeds

 

Disclaimer

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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