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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Recent Developments

Government representatives to discuss drought measures

Government representatives and farm leaders are to discuss drought measures as a lack of rain further damages harvest prospects across the country.  Low rainfall over recent weeks is expected to see this May confirmed as the driest on record. Although some showers are forecast over the coming days, the Met Office says warm and dry weather will continue throughout the weekend.  The National Drought Group – which brings together government departments, water companies, environmental groups and farming representatives – is due to assess the situation and discuss any necessary action during the first week of June.  Read more here.  

Virtual field days with Agricology

As events across the country are being cancelled and postponed in response to COVID-19, Agricology is hosting a series of virtual alternatives to their Field Days in collaboration with partner organisation. Each virtual field day will be focused on a particular sustainable or’ agroecological’ practice – bringing together farmers, farming organisations, researchers and advisors in conversation.   These will be hosted and shared as free public webinars which are open to anyone.  Topics include Sustainable Land Management, Multispecies Leys and Integrated Pest Management.  Visit this page for full details.

AHDB Strategic Farm Week 1- 5 June moves online

This year AHDB’s Strategic Farm Week will be delivered direct to your farm office.   They have brought together the research taking place on their Strategic Farms with their hosts, researchers and key experts from across the industry for a week of practical discussions, technical information and resources.  Join in with the webinars that interest you on Tuesday or Thursday, download the ‘how to’ resources for use on your own farm, watch the video updates to hear about the latest findings on our field-scale trials or listen to the podcast special.  All of the webinars and resources will be recorded and available to watch back after the events.   Please visit this page for further information and to register for the events.

Get advice on cyber security for small businesses moving on-line

To help small businesses manage the transition from physical to digital safely and securely, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has developed a guidance package to support SMEs with their cyber security as business needs and ways of working develop.  The package has been developed specifically to support small businesses who are relying more heavily on IT services to run their business, and will help gain a clear picture of cyber security as it currently stands and plan any new measures to put in place.

New innovation centre for rural enterprise

The new National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise will support enterprise, resilience and innovation among rural firms and unlock the untapped potential of rural economies across the UK.   Led by experts from Newcastle, Warwick, Gloucestershire and the Royal Agricultural Universities, and working with businesses, policy makers, enterprise agencies and communities, the Centre has been awarded £3.8 million of funding by Research England.  NICRE officially launches on 1 September 2020.  Read more here.  

Information on moving your local food business online

Sustain – the alliance for better food and farming – has drawn together advice and information on how to move your local food business online.  There are links to existing website platforms and advice on how to set up your own online shop front.  Visit this page for all the details.

Back British Farming with a free car sticker

NFU Countryside has produced a free “Back British Farming” car sticker.  Visit this page to order your sticker whilst stocks allow.

30 days wild in Warwickshire

Join thousands of people taking part in the annual Wildlife Trusts nature challenge, 30 Days Wild! It’s a fun, feel-good challenge run every June. Back for its sixth year, it brings people closer to nature where they live, taking small actions that can collectively have a big impact.  From little things such as watching a bee from your window or feeding the birds, to giving up single-use plastics for a month or digging a pond in your garden: every Random Act of Wildness counts.  Sign up online for your free digital pack, full of Random Acts of Wildness and other fun activities: www.warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/30DaysWild

 

Agriculture Bill completes its House of Commons journey

The Agriculture Bill completed its journey through the House of Commons on 13 May and is now on track to pass through parliament by the summer.   It sets out how farmers will be rewarded with public money for “public goods” – such as cleaner air or water – replacing the current subsidy system.  The Bill also introduces new powers to improve fairness and transparency in the supply chain and will enable the Government to introduce grants to help farmers add value to their produce while reducing costs.  In addition, the Government will have a legal obligation for the first time to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every five years.

New study highlights role of moths as pollinators

New research by University College London suggests that moths play a vital role as overnight pollinators of a wide range of flowers and plants.  The study found that the moths’ transport networks are larger and more complex than those of daytime pollinators like bees and the authors believe there is an urgent need to stem declines in moth numbers.  To find out how vital a part the moths play the research monitored moth activity around ponds in agricultural areas of Norfolk.  It was discovered that 45% of the moths tested were transporting pollen, which originated from 47 different plant species, including several that were rarely visited by bees, hoverflies and butterflies.  The scientists found that while bumblebees and honeybees are critically important, they tended to target the most prolific nectar and pollen sources, but this was not the case with moths.  It appeared that moths tend to be generalists, not specifically visiting a narrow group of flowers.    The full research paper can be accessed here.  

Government advice on how to make workplaces safe during coronavirus

As workers in England who are unable to operate from home are encouraged to return to their usual place of work, Gov.uk has issued a series of advice documents on how to make workplaces safe for employees during the coronavirus outbreak.   There is advice for construction sites, warehouses, laboratories, offices, restaurants, shops, vehicles and homes.  You can access the advice here.  

Our Business Supporter, Ellacotts, has produced a checklist for helping SMEs prepare for returning to work post lockdown.

The government has advised the public to consider wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces such as shops, trains and buses.  Further advice can be viewed here.

A roadmap which describes the progress the UK has made to date in tackling the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and sets out the plans for moving to the next phase of its response to the virus is available here.

Pick for Britain on a UK fruit or vegetable farm.

Are you looking for short term work on a UK fruit or vegetable farm?  Pick for Britain is a new website which will help to bring together workers and employees to ensure that everyone in the UK can continue to enjoy the best quality British fruit and veg.  The website will advertise vacancies and give more information about what to expect when working as a picker or packer on a farm.  Click here to find vacancies in your local area.  Recruiters can advertise vacancies on their farms by clicking here.

NFU launches its Student and Young Farmer Ambassador Programme

The NFU is looking for 8-12 enthusiastic young farmers to represent agriculture in their region for a whole year and experience the best of what the NFU has to offer, starting in September 2020.  The programme is designed to give successful applicants the opportunity to engage with the work of the NFU and to put their own stamp on what the future of farming should look like.   There will also be an opportunity to experience new aspects of the agricultural industry, including engagement with the media, supply chain and how politics can impact agriculture.

Visit this page for further information on who can apply.

Cereal Pathogen Virulence Survey

The UKCPVS is always checking for new races of cereal rusts and mildews across the UK and rely on samples to check for new variations of diseases.  Growers are encouraged to send in samples by completing this form to accompany each sample for virulence analysis.  Please post to FREEPOST UKCPVS.  Samples can be from any variety, but NIAB are especially interested in varieties which are noted as resistant to the different diseases. More detail can be found on the NIAB website

This is a free service funded by AHDB.

Interactive mapping tool for bTB

Information bTB (ibTB) is an online interactive mapping tool set up to help cattle farmers and their vets understand the level of bovine TB in their area. The map shows the locations of all TB breakdowns in England and Wales. It can be used to find out about the bovine TB situation in your local area, and when purchasing cattle. The map is currently updated every two weeks and there are a variety of ways to select and view data.

For information about using ibTB, please see the useful how-to video on YouTube:    To access ibTB please click the following link: https://ibtb.co.uk/.

Dairy industry unites to launch consumer campaign

The UK dairy sector in partnership with Government has announced a new joint-funded campaign to highlight the importance of ‘human connections’ during the current coronavirus crisis.  The promotional campaign taps into the need for personal moments during lockdown – highlighting the role fresh milk and dairy plays in these challenging times.  The campaign will mainly focus on driving the tea, coffee and milky drink occasions and will appear on social media, digital and, for the first time in over a decade, on television.

Free one-to one-sessions for Countryside Stewardship Mid-Tier

Are you considering applying for Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier this year?

Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier is different from Environmental Stewardship, as some elements are competitively scored. Alternatively you can enter a “Wildlife Offer” which is simpler to apply for and non-competitive.  Applications for Mid Tier are now open and close on 31 July 2020. Successful applications will start on 1 January 2021.

If you are thinking of applying to the scheme you may be interested in a free one-to-one session which will:

  • Review the recent changes to the scheme,
  • Help you select the most appropriate options to apply for
  • Advise you how to complete and submit your application.

Your session will last up to 1hr 30mins with an experienced adviser. Many of the sessions in Warwickshire will be hosted by Zoe Bell.  Due to Covid-19 these sessions will be run remotely. To get the most out of a session it is advisable to have access to a computer with internet capabilities. You should also have an idea of what you want to achieve with your application prior to your session.

Booking is essential as places are limited so please visit this link to book your session online. Alternatively telephone Chris Seabridge & Associates Ltd. on 07593 449868 or email bookings@chrisseabridge.co.uk     Please provide your name, address, contact telephone number, email address, farm SBI and CPH numbers when booking. You will then be contacted to arrange a convenient time for the session.

You can request and download your Mid-Tier application pack from your online RPA account. You have until midnight on 30 June 2020 to request your pack online. Alternatively you can request an application from the RPA via phone 03000 200301, or email ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk. The last date to request via this method is 31 May 2020.

Chris Seabridge & Associates Ltd. is delivering this service on behalf of Natural England.

BASIS relaxes CPD requirements and extends year-end period

With much of the country working from home and most industry events cancelled, BASIS has taken the decision to relax its CPD requirements for Professional Register members by extending the year-end period. This allows points to be collected into the next points year. The only stipulation is that the full requirement of points for the 2019/20 points-year and 2020/21 points year are fulfilled for both years, by 31 May 2021.  A full reading list and associated points can be found and downloaded here.  Members can check their training record and points requirements on the Basis website or contact a member of the BASIS team on 01335 343945.

Free visits available from TB Advisory Service

The TB Advisory Service is a project funded through the Rural Development Program for England through DEFRA. The service has funding for 2,400 free advice visits to farms and 1,950 telephone advice discussions. All cattle keepers in the bovine TB High Risk Area (HRA) and Edge Area (EA) – Warwickshire – are eligible for this free advice.  The two hour visit focuses on biosecurity, reducing the length or recurrence of a bTB breakdown and advice about purchasing.  The farmer will receive a report with practical recommendations but there is no penalty imposed if you do not implement them.  If you are interested in receiving a visit please visit www.tbas.org.uk email info@tbas.org.uk or telephone 01306 779410.

Prince’s Countryside Fund research into livestock marts

The call for evidence for the Prince’s Countryside Fund’s research into livestock marts had been extended, specifically in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.  If you, or your auction mart business, has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak please send your comments to livestockauctionmarts@exeter.ac.uk

Free webinar series on transforming the future of land management

The Land App and Duchy of Cornwall have brought together key stakeholders to present their thoughts on how we can collectively shape best practice for the future of land management.  Discussing one key topic a week for 11 weeks, the 60 minute free webinar series has two guest speakers each week and a live Q&A.  The featured topics range from natural capital payment opportunities and regenerative farm management, to landscape scale planning and supermarket and government support of the sector.  Visit this page to register.

Farmers can request coronavirus test on new government website

All farmers in England and members of their households who are showing symptoms of coronavirus are now be able to get tested via the new government website.  Testing has been extended to all essential workers in the country, which includes those involved in food production and processing, as well as vets.  Essential workers can book an appointment on the government’s website, and then choose to visit one of more than 30 drive-through testing sites, or receive a home testing kit.

Due to exceptional demand on Friday 24 April the website was temporarily closed.  It will now reopen on Saturday 25 April.

Rural Hub podcast on the impact of coronavirus on the farming community

Wright Hassall solicitors – one of the Rural Hub’s business supporters – invited the Hub Co-ordinator Jane Hampson to talk about how coronavirus has affected the farming community, and what the Hub is doing to try and support them.

You can hear the podcast and read the script on this page.  

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.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme goes live on 20 April

The online claim service for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme goes live on 20 April.  You can make your claim on this page.  

  • the only way to make a claim is online – the service should be simple to use and any support you need available on GOV.UK; this will include help with calculating the amount you can claim
  • claims will be paid within 6 working days; you should not contact the Government unless it is absolutely necessary

To make a claim you will need the following information:

  • a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – if you don’t already have a GG account, you can apply for one online, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for ‘HMRC services: sign in or register’
  • be enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet, you can do so now, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for ‘PAYE Online for employers’
  • the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for:
  1. Name
  2. National Insurance number
  3. Claim period and claim amount
  4. PAYE/employee number (optional)

You can now claim for all employees who were on your payroll on or before 19 March 2020.  Full information on which employees you can claim for is on this page.  

Call on your MP to support the British dairy industry

The National Farmers’ Union has set up a form and fully editable letter which will contact your local MP to ask them to support the British dairy industry during the coronavirus sector.  Over 2,000 dairy farmers are severely impacted financially as a result of Coronavirus. This number is growing daily.   To complete the form and send your letter to your local MP visit this page.  

Rural Payments Agency Coronavirus page

The RPA has established a dedicated page which gives farmers, landowners and rural businesses information on updated working practices, claims and applications etc during the coronavirus outbreak.  Visit the page here.

Free small business survival tool kit

The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs has made their small business survival tool kit free of charge for the period of the coronavirus outbreak.   The tool kit features videos, learning modules on many subjects, business planning templates and a lot more. You will need to sign up to download.  Visit this page for further information.

NFU contingency planning advice

The coronavirus crisis has affected our whole way of life, and it has led to significant changes to the food supply chain and the ability of farmers to feed the nation. Working closely with the Farming Help charities – FCN, RABI, RSABI, Addington Fund and Forage Aid –  and SAC in Scotland, the NFU has produced a checklist to help farmers look at their businesses and make a robust plan if they, their families or key members of staff become unwell during this pandemic.  Visit this page to access the information.

The home page for NFU advice and information on dealing with the coronavirus outbreak is here.

AHDB advice on coronavirus for farmers and growers

The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board has set up a dedicated page on its website giving advice to farmers and growers during the coronavirus outbreak.  As well as a question and answer section there is also advice on contingency planning and information on the effect of the virus outbreak on supply chains.  An essential travel letter template is available for download as well as some home-schooling resources.

Visit this page to access the information.

The work of the Forestry Commission during coronavirus

The Forestry Commission has currently closed its non-essential offices and the majority of staff are working from home.  Please avoid sending any postal mail to FC offices.   The post will not be seen for at least two weeks.  No ‘phone lines are currently operational.  To contact FC about felling licences or legacy grant agreements please use the Admin Hub email addresses. For details on which admin hub to contact see the FC office contacts on GOV.UK.

Apply online for your Felling Licence – FC will continue to process felling licence applications online only.  FC will not undertake site visits during the current period of restrictions.  Port inspections and export work are not covered by this site visit suspension. Regulated outbreak management of existing high priority pest will also continue.

Your questions on furlough leave answered by the NFU

National Farmers’ Union has answered all of your questions on furlough leave and the coronavirus job retention scheme, such as:

Can I furlough all of my employees?
Can my furloughed employees work elsewhere?
What happens to my employees’ rights during furlough leave?
What if my employee doesn’t agree to be furloughed?

Visit this page for answers to the above questions, plus many more.

 

Advice from the Water Consumer Council regarding temporary office closures

The Water Consumer Council has made some guidance available on steps that a business needs to take with regards to its water bill if it has been forced to temporarily close its premises during the coronavirus outbreak.

One of the most important changes means businesses that have had to close can now be classified as ‘vacant’. If your company falls into this category it will not be billed for any water consumption during its closure. The change took effect from 30 March.  It’s vital you let your retailer know if you’ve closed and provide them with some evidence that you’ve shut – for example, an email or website notification for your customers.

Sheep Sheering register established

Several farming organisations have come together to establish a matchmaking service for sheep shearers and contractors to cover the gap of overseas shearers, who are unlikely to be able to travel to the UK this season.

National Association of Agricultural Contractors has made the register available on its website.  Shearers who are available for work can advertise their services on the register and contractors seeking shearers can also make a request.

Warwickshire Police take back control of gun licensing

As of Wednesday 1 April Warwickshire Police has taken back control of firearms licensing in the county.    If anyone applying for a licence experiences issues with a delay in receiving a licence please make the NFU County Adviser, George Bostock, aware.

Agricultural supply chains during the coronavirus outbreak

With the leisure sector effectively closed during the coronavirus outbreak the bottom has effectively fallen out of the processor’s market, says our Business Supporter, Wright Hassall solicitors.  Visit this page for their advice on how to react if your supply chain becomes disrupted.

Updated information from the Rural Payments Agency during the coronavirus outbreak

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has set out some information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses on changes in operations during the coronavirus outbreak.  Read all the updates on this page.  

Download a template letter to confirm that travel is essential

Police forces across the UK have been stopping drivers to check they are making essential-only journeys and that has been causing red-tape headaches for companies.  Rural Hub Business Supporter, Wright Hassall solicitors, is recommending firms take steps to prevent vital supplies being stopped and employees being allowed to continue their work, and is advising all delivery firms to issue drivers and other transport staff with letters from their employer which confirms their work is essential.

A template for the letter can be downloaded here.

Government launches coronavirus WhatsApp messaging service

The Government has launched a new #Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp. Get official advice and information about coronavirus directly from the government. Get started by WhatsApping ‘hi’ to 07860 064422.

Results of the Big Farmland Bird Count 2020

More than 1500 farmers across Britain took part in the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust 2020 Big Farmland Bird Count (BFBC) the higher number since it launched in 2014.  Over 120 species were recorded across 1.4 million acres.  An impressive 25 red-listed species were recorded, with nine featuring in the 25 most-commonly seen species.   The five most abundant birds seen were woodpigeons, starlings, lapwings, black-headed gulls and rooks.

Buy milk and dairy direct from the farm (or join the list if you are a producer)

Buying milk straight from the farm is one way to source milk during the cornonavirus pandemic and it also helps make sure dairy producers get a fair deal.

Farmers Weekly has created a map of British farmers selling direct to the public – cutting out the supermarket or middleman. Many of these suppliers sell via online shops or can arrange contact-free delivery.

Some produce pasteurised milk, others sell raw or unpasteurised and a few have a wider dairy range to try.   Click on the map below to find on-farm dairies near you where you can buy direct, if you’re a consumer, or, if you’re a dairy farmer selling direct, you can send Farmers Weekly your details and they’ll add you to the map.

https://www.fwi.co.uk/business/map-buy-milk-direct-farm

 

Be warned about scam coronavirus text message

Please be warned not to fall for a bogus text message saying you have been fined £250 for leaving your house during the coronavirus lockdown.  This text is the latest in a series of scams related to the virus claims to be from the Government, telling the recipient their movements have been monitored through their phone and they must pay a fine or face a more severe penalty.

Police can order members of the public to go home or leave an area, have the power to disperse a group, using “reasonable force”, and can make arrests if someone refuses to comply.  Those who ignore the tougher restrictions could be hit with a £60 fine initially – reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days – and another for £120 for a second offence.

Farming Help providing support for farmers affected by COVID-19

The Farming Help Charities – Addington Fund, Farming Community Network (FCN), Forage Aid, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I), and RSABI, supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund – are working together to support the Farming Community during the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.  This initiative is in conjunction with The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, The National Farmers’ Union, and the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.

Call 03000 111 999 or visit www.farminghelp.co.uk

COVID-19: Support for the self-employed

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for the scheme you must meet all the criteria below:

  • Be self-employed or a member of partnership;
  • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19;
  • File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018-19 will have an additional 4 weeks from this announcement to do so;
  • Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID 19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
  • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
    • Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
    • Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.

How do I access it?

Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. HMRC will then pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank account. HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid out by beginning of June 2020. For eligible individuals who have not submitted their returns for 2018-19, they will have 4 weeks’ notice from the date of the announcement to file their returns and therefore become eligible for this scheme.

HMRC are publishing guidance on the scheme, available here. This guidance will continue to be updated.

When can I access it?

HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid by the beginning of June 2020. This time is necessary to ensure that the scheme is both deliverable and fair. In the interim the self-employed will still able eligible for other government support including more generous universal credit and business continuity loans.

Further information on how to access these schemes can be found here.

Support your local food outlets with Big Barn

Discover which local food outlets are near to you by typing your postcode into Big Barn.   The website has nearly 9,000 local food outlets listed plus 500 artisan and specialist outlets which sell online.

And if you are a local producer who is not yet listed you can log into the site to upload your own details.

COVID-19: Support for businesses

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Full details of the support available and how to access the schemes are available on this page.

Call for businesses to manufacture ventilators

As you may have seen at the weekend, the Government has put out an open request for companies to assist with rapid manufacturing of Ventilators for the NHS as the Covid-19 numbers escalate.  Whilst the Government is talking to the likes of JCB and JLR and others, there is a movement in the West Midlands to pull together a list of interested companies across the region. It is not clear yet what capabilities will be required, but if you are interested in collaborating on this very important project, can you please send the following details to Martin Nwangwa so he can share with the Government Department co-ordinating this effort.

Organisation 
Name 
Job Title
Email
Details of capability/accreditation

Of particular interest are any companies with medical accreditation(s), nuclear, oil & gas etc. Please feel free to contact Martin if you need any further clarification.

CW Growth Hub – Run By Business For Business 

Tel:     0300 060 3747
DDI:   02477 719 804

martin.nwangwa@cwgrowthhub.co.uk

 

Ministers sign £1billion deal to improve rural ‘phone coverage

Ministers have signed a £1 billion deal to improve the UK’s patchy rural phone coverage.  The deal will deliver 4G coverage irrespective of what network provider people use.  The Shared Rural Network (SRN) is a deal with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone investing in a network of new and existing phone masts, overseen by a jointly owned company called Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited.  It is hoped the deal will provide guaranteed coverage to 280,000 premises and 16,000km of roads.  The deal should lead to increases in coverage in some areas by more than a third, with the biggest coverage improvements in rural parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Read 2018 harvest benchmarking information from Ellacotts

Ellacotts Accountants, business supporters of the Hub, recently held an event for our arable clients to discuss the 2018 harvest.  The findings and comments are summarised on this page. Ellacotts advise arable farmers on their rural businesses. Many of their Partners and staff are from farming backgrounds so they understand the challenges and opportunities that face the farming industry and can give tailored advice. Find out about how they can help your farming business here.

Free online training for using a drone on farm

DroneAg – set up by farmers who know drones – now has a free online training course available for unlocking the power of a DJI drone on farm.  The course comprises 4 modules (Drone Basis, Mapping, Analysis and Measurement Tools) and 12 videos and 6 BASIS CPD points and 2 NRoSO points are available following completion of the training.

To access the training please visit this page.

Defra sets out next phase of strategy for bTB eradication

Defra has said it will phase out intensive badger culling in favour of vaccination as part of its drive to eradicate bovine TB. Research by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (Apha) has paved the way for field trials of cattle vaccine, which the government wants to see available on farms within five years. Christine Middlemiss, UK chief veterinary officer, said: “While there is no single way to combat this damaging and complex disease, cattle vaccination will be a new tool for our multi-pronged approach to tackle it and, importantly, prevent it, providing vital support to our farming communities.”

You can read full information on this page.

New FCN booklet “Fit for Farming” for women’s health

Farming Community Network has launched a brand new booklet to help women farmers look after their wellbeing.  The booklet, titled “Fit For Farming – Women’s Health Made Easy”, is a female-friendly version of the original “Fit For Farming” booklet. This new booklet is full of useful advice and guidance about how women can look after their mental and physical health.  For further information please visit this page.  Copies of the booklet will also be available at the Rural Hub “Fit for Farming” events being held at Rugby Livestock Mart, Stratford Livestock Market and other locations during 2020.  Visit this page for further information.

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.

Access to Government Gateway being updated

Changes are coming in from 1 April 2020 in order to keep user data secure and to update Government technology, with the upgrade of Government Gateway. Some older computer operating systems and internet browsers will no longer work with the new Government security measures being introduced in the upgrade.  What this means is from 1 April 2020, you will no longer be able to access your Government Gateway account on Windows XP and Windows Vista or Internet Explorer 6 and 7. Other older operating systems and browsers may also be affected. More information on NFU Online.

The Rural Payments Agency website is unaffected by this change as this website is not accessed through Government Gateway.

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.

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.

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.

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 help@fcn.org.uk

 

 

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: 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

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 broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk, 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 planthealth.info@apha.gsi.gov.uk.

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

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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
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

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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