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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Recent Developments

Warwickshire businesses urged to prepare for the new NHS Covid-19 App

Warwickshire businesses with a physical location open to the public are being urged to prepare for the launch of the new NHS Covid-19 app, being launched on Thursday 24 September, by downloading a QR code poster for their premises from the government’s website.   Key to the success of the NHS Covid-19 app is that buildings such as pubs, restaurants and other businesses with areas open to the public clearly display the NHS QR code posters at all their entrances, so customers who have downloaded the Covid-19 app can use their smartphones to check in easily.   It is a legal requirement for such premises to display the posters which must replace any existing QR codes that businesses are displaying for test and trace or for the recent Eat Out to Help Out scheme.   

Businesses should download their QR code posters here:   

For full information please visit this page.  

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.

End of furlough: what you need to know

The Federation of Small Businesses has written a comprehensive article on its website which details what employers need to know as the Government’s furlough scheme comes to an end.   The article covers the job retention bonus, flexible furlough, changing employee’s contracts and alternatives to redundancy.   Visit this page to read the article.

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 or telephone 01249 848649.

NFU Group Secretary vacancies in Warwickshire

The NFU and NFU Mutual are currently recruiting for a Senior Group Secretary to take the lead of the North Warwickshire Atherstone branch and a Group Secretary for the Henley In Arden branch. You can find all the details for the roles on this page.    Both roles will be working on a self employed basis and will not be employed by NFU Mutual.

If you would like to discuss the roles please feel free to contact the Warwickshire NFU County Adviser George Bostock on

Online courses for new businesses in Warwickshire

A series of free workshops for new businesses are being run by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce between 1 September and 19 November.    To be eligible, businesses must have been registered for less than 12 months and be (or plan to be) located in Warwickshire or Coventry.  The workshops include masterclasses in creating a brand, marketing, writing a business plan, winning and keeping customers and developing a website.

Visit this page for the full list of workshops and to book your place.

How to start your own business from the Federation of Small Businesses

Thinking about starting a business, but don’t know where to begin?  From finances and legal paperwork, to business plans and marketing, it takes a lot more than a great idea to start a new business.   The Federation of Small Businesses has added a new page to their website which will help kickstart your business journey with a free start up guide and other resources.  Visit this page for full details.

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 

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.

Petition to include wool fleeces in new government home insulation scheme

The NFU is throwing its support behind a petition which aims to deliver a new, long-term market for British wool.  The petition is calling for British wool products to be mandatory for insulating in the government’s new home insulation scheme and for insulation and carpeting in any public financed building projects.  The call comes after increasing reports that farmers are incorporating wool fleeces into the manure heap rather than selling to British Wool, after the price of wool fell way below the price of shearing for many farmers.

To find out more about the petition please visit this page.  

bTB vaccine field trials given the green light

World-leading bovine tuberculosis (bTB) TB cattle vaccination trials are set to get underway in England and Wales as a result of a major breakthrough by government scientists.  These trials enable work to accelerate towards planned deployment of a cattle vaccine by 2025.   It is one of several key elements of the long-term bTB strategy to eradicate the disease in England by 2038.   The field trials will be conducted over the next four years on behalf of Defra, the Welsh Government and the Scottish Government, following 20 years of ground-breaking research into bovine TB vaccines and diagnostic tests.

Rural Hub is included in Directory of Farm and Rural Support Groups

The Prince’s Countryside Fund has launched its National Directory of Farm and Rural Support Groups which lists 69 regional, national, and membership organisations who can provide support, advice, and guidance to farming and rural communities. The directory signposts to support for farmers who might be in crisis.  Originally created by YANA, a farming mental health charity working across Norfolk, Suffolk, and Worcestershire, the directory has been updated to include 21 new support groups, including the Warwickshire Rural Hub. Visit this page to access a copy of the directory.

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.

New guide on using tree shelters and guards

The new Tree protection: The use of tree shelters and guards guide outlines a framework for woodland owners and managers considering what method(s) of protection are needed for the successful establishment of trees. The guide also highlights the key considerations when evaluating the efficacy of tree protection, and explores a sustainable approach to the use of plastics within forestry.

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.  

Advice for tourism businesses and they re-open their doors to welcome back customers

Warwickshire County Council is working hard with the Districts and Boroughs and other partners to help businesses in the tourism sector to be fully equipped for reopening after lockdown.  Most sectors of the visitor economy reopened on July 4th, provided they adhered to the necessary Health & Safety and social distancing criteria.  It is vital that businesses observe all the legislation in place to protect themselves and their customers and, to assist them to do that, there is a lot of helpful information available.   Visit this page for further details.

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.

Irrigation advice from the Environment Agency

May 2020 was the driest on record (and the fourth driest spring on record) in England, with below average rainfalls recorded across the country. The dry conditions will be having a significant impact on crops and grass. For more information on this, please read the Environment Agency’s irrigation advice in ‘Making your business resilient to drought’ and ‘What can Irrigators do’ sections of the Environment Agency’s updated irrigation prospects.  Visit this page for further information.

An update on the work of Championing the Farmed Environment

Championing the Farmed Environment (CFE) has a new theme: climate change mitigation.  You can read CFE guidance on how to incorporate climate change mitigation into a farming business on this page.    To help you stay connected during lockdown CFE has also launched a podcast series.  It’s not too late to take advantage of their subsidised seed mix offers supported by Syngenta.  Visit this page for details.  Over the last year CFE worked closely with Agricology to share a joint mission and messages with a wider audience.  The Agricology events pages list CFE events as well as lots of great online events offered by CFE partners and Agricology supporters.


Defra publishes report on integrated pest management

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan puts Integrated Pest Management (IPM) at the centre of the future approach to crop protection. The aim is to create policies which focus on minimising pesticide use and making the greatest possible use of alternatives, such as improved crop husbandry and the use of natural predators. To read a copy of the final project report please visit this page. 

Moisture meter guidance from Red Tractor

Red Tractor has issued new guidance regarding calibrating moisture meters, following the cancellation of clinics due to coronavirus.

  • Contact the manufacturer of your moisture meter for specific advice as to how to calibrate at home.
  • Contact your merchant – they may be offering calibration services, or may be able to provide you with tested samples to calibrate against.
  • Apply for a reference sample – some merchants are selling these. Are there any neighbours you can work with to buy a set of samples and use between you?
  • Send your meter off to be professionally calibrated.

Whichever method you select for the calibration you must record and retain the information.

Government to establish trade and agriculture commission

The government has announced that it will establish a trade and agriculture commission to help inform post-Brexit trade policy.  The international trade secretary, Liz Truss. announced the news on 29 June)following ‘positive discussions’ with UK farming unions.  She said the commission would make recommendations for agricultural trade policy, higher animal welfare standards and export opportunities for farmers.  The group, which could be made up of government officials, industry representatives, civil society groups and experts in food and farming, would make recommendations on the UK’s future food trade policy.

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:
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

Tel: 07780 159291

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


Hub Chair

Henry Lucas




Jane Hampson

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


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