Beware of fraudsters targeting farmers who receive BPS payments

Unfortunately, as a result of the publicity around BPS and other payments, farmers who receive these payments may be targeted by fraudsters.  Please be fully aware that these payments can make you an easy target for criminals trying to obtain money by deception.

Fraudsters can send emails to try and obtain passwords for bank accounts or even try and trick you into making payments into different bank accounts.

As always, please be on your guard, but at this time of the year please be extra vigilant to any suspicious emails or phone calls.

Remember:

  • Your bank, police, HMRC or the RPA will never ask you to reveal your online password, PIN or bank account details or ask you to make a payment over the telephone.
  • Never discuss your bank account details with someone you don’t know, or open unknown or unexpected website links or emails. If in doubt, call the organisation back, ideally on a different telephone, using a number you are familiar with or you know to be official. You can usually find this on the organisation’s website, correspondence or statement.
  • Look out for emails from suppliers asking for funds to be transferred to a different bank account, emails claiming that there is a problem with an account etc.
  • If you feel you’ve been the subject of fraud, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 without delay for advice and to register your concern.

Annual Sheep & Goat Inventory in England

Don’t forget to

• Update your holding register with the number of sheep and goats that are on your land on 1st December 2018.
• Complete an inventory of the sheep and goats you keep.  You can complete it online, or send the paper form by post to the Office of National Statistics. You must do this by 31 December 2018.

Grassland Derogations for 2019

If you need a grassland derogation for livestock manure in nitrate vulnerable zones guidance, you must apply before 31st December 2018.
If you have a current derogation, this will finish on the 31st December 2018 and you must reapply for 2019.

In England you need to apply by telephoning the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506
(Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm)

In Wales you need to telephone the NVZ Wales helpline 01824 704060

For further details click HERE

 

Are you sheep dipping this autumn?

If you are planning to dip your sheep this autumn,  you need to make sure that the way you dispose of your dip is legal. It is also important to make sure that any dipping operations are planned and managed carefully to prevent any dip chemical causing water pollution.

Plunge dipping results in left over dip solution that needs to be disposed of responsibly and in line with legislation. Dip solution is extremely polluting and so must be handled carefully to prevent it escaping to the environment. All stages of the dipping process need to be considered and managed to prevent any dip escaping into drains, ditches, watercourses and groundwater. Storage, preparation of the dip solution, the dipping process itself, management of freshly dipped sheep and transport and disposal of left over dip solution should all be managed carefully to prevent pollution.

If you have a dip bath on your farm…

  • Check it is watertight and there are no drain holes in the bottom. If there are seal them permanently.
  • Prepare dip in an area where any spillage of concentrate would be contained.
  • Do not let hoses lie in the dip solution when filling as back-siphoning can occur where chemical is sucked back up into supply.
  • Drainage pens should be adequately sized to contain sheep until they have stopped dripping. Drain pens must have an impermeable floor and drain back to the bath.
  • Make sure sheep stay in the drainage pens until they have stopped dripping.
  • Do not hold freshly dipped sheep on yards with surface water drains. Hold them in a building until dry or release straight to pasture. Do not let freshly dipped sheep have access to any streams or rivers.
  • If you dispose of dip on your own land, you must have an Environmental Permit. This sets out conditions that allow you to dispose of dip in a certain area that has been assessed to ensure that the disposal does not pose a risk to any surface or groundwaters. This is to protect streams, rivers and water supplies from contamination. Contact the Environment Agency on 03708 506506 to apply for a permit or apply on line at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/discharges-to-surface-water-and-groundwater-environmental-permits.
    Disposal to land without a permit is an offence, for which you may face enforcement action. It is also a breach of cross compliance, which may result in a reduction in your Basic Payment. It is important that you contact the Environment Agency to discuss your requirement for a permit and they will help you through the process.
  • If you dispose of dip solution through collection by a licenced waste contractor, check to make sure they have a waste carriers licence and that they are taking the dip to a registered waste site. The contractor should give you a waste transfer note, so make sure you request one and keep it in your records.
  • Dip should never be discharged to a soakaway as this poses a risk of polluting wells and boreholes used for drinking and other domestic and trade purposes.

If you are using a mobile dipping contractor……….

  • Check whether they will be taking away the used dip or whether they will be leaving it with you on the farm. If they are leaving it with you, you will need a permit for disposal and a secure container to store it if conditions for land spreading are not suitable at the time of dipping.
  • Do not site mobile facilities on yards with surface water drains.
  • Fields can be used provided they are flat, have a good grass cover and have no land drains, ditches, watercourses or water supplies nearby.
  • Make sure the contractor’s facility has adequate drainage pens that will contain the dip.
  • Keep freshly sipped sheep off yards with surface water drains and away from watercourses and water supplies.

Don’t dip sheep if you expect rain within 24 hours unless you have a ventilated shelter for your flock. Rain can wash off dip that hasn’t had time to dry.

A code of practice is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/sheep-dip-groundwater-protection-code
This gives more detailed guidance on the matters raised above.

You can also phone your local Environment Agency Office for help and advice on pollution prevention and dip disposal 03708 506506. The Agriculture Officer for the West Midlands is Sharon Chisholm.

Herefordshire Rural Hub Co-ordinator – Job opportunity

In the aftermath of foot and mouth in the early 2000’s Cathy Meredith was a key figure in the significant regeneration of the county.  The development of the Rural Hub network in the West Midlands was supported by the RDPE programme and in 2011 Herefordshire Rural Hub was set up as a Community Interest Company.  Cathy says “in Herefordshire the Rural Hub would not exist without the support of a committed team of individuals”.  However, with Cathy at the helm the Hub has developed into a valuable resource for the farming and rural community in the county.

Due to commitments at home Cathy is planning to retire from her role as Hub Co-ordinator in the New Year.  She will remain as a Hub Director and will support a new co-ordinator into the vacated post. If you have an in-depth knowledge and interest of Herefordshire’s rural economy, agriculture and environment could this be the job for you?  Click HERE for further details.

Derogation to relax some Ecological Focus Areas

The Rural Payments Agency has announced a derogation to relax some of the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) rules to increase the availability of fodder. This specifically applies to EFA cover crops only.

The derogation is expected to come into force by 30th September.

Full details of the announcement and the conditions that need to be met and how to apply for this derogation, can be found on the GOV.UK website HERE

The RPA need to have received your derogation request by 19th October.

The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme – Applications open until 15th October

Family farm businesses are invited to register for the third year of The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme.

An area which is in an approximate 30 miles radius from the city of Worcester is one of the chosen locations.

The programme will be delivered by Herefordshire Rural Hub. Up to 20 farming families are invited to join the highly successful initiative.

Aimed at dairy, beef, and sheep farmers, it helps farming families to make changes to improve their business and ensure their viability. 83% of participating farmers said they have made greater efficiencies because of taking part, and 9 in 10 say they feel more confident for the future of their business.

Support is provided through one-to-one on farm advice, as well as a series of group workshops delivered by professional consultants, including Kite, The Andersons Centre, Promar, Savills, and Saviour Associates. This year sees a new selection of workshops based on feedback from participating farmers in year one and two.

This year’s workshops include:

  • The Business Health Check – a simple benchmarking exercise carried out on farm, after which the anonymised results are reviewed to show the importance of keeping and using records
  • Practical cost management – exploring ways of making efficiencies and practical cost-saving techniques
  • Getting to know your finances – how accounts are put together, and how they can advise your decision making on-farm
  • Business planning and managing change – encouraging families to look at their farm businesses, to identify short- and long-term aims, SWOT analysis, and how to manage change
  • Planning for your Future – this looks at how to engage the whole family in succession planning and future proofing your business
  • Managing your environment – looking at environmental recording and benchmarking, identifying your public goods, and opportunities and advice around farming in harmony with the environment

Applications are open until Monday 15th October and places are allocated on a first come first served basis.

Please contact Sarah Starkey on farming2020@herefordshireruralhub.co.uk or Tel: 07974 438517
or visit www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk/farmresilience for further details or to register.

        

The Prince’s Countryside Fund was established by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2010 and aims to enhance the prospects of family farm businesses and the quality of rural life. We believe that the British countryside is our most valuable natural asset and its contribution to our everyday life cannot be underestimated. To help support and secure the future of the countryside we: Provide more than £1.2m each year in grant funding to projects across the UK thanks to support from our partners, events and donations

Exciting opportunity for family farm businesses!

Family farm businesses are invited to register for the third year of The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme from Monday 3rd September 2018.

One area, covering West Worcestershire and North East Herefordshire is one of the chosen locations.

The programme in this area will be delivered by Herefordshire Rural Hub.

Up to 20 farming families can join the highly successful initiative.

Aimed at dairy, beef, and sheep farmers, it helps farming families to make changes to improve their business and ensure their viability.   83% of participating farmers said they have made greater efficiencies because of taking part, and 9 out of 10 say they feel more confident for the future of their business.

Patrick from Devon, who took part in year two said: “The programme is one of those things where you get out of it what you put in. It was a great way to get the ball rolling, getting the family farm to be more like a family business.”

Support is provided through one-to-one on farm advice, as well as a series of group workshops delivered by professional consultants, including Kite, The Andersons Centre, Promar, Savills, and Saviour Associates. This year sees a new selection of workshops based on feedback from participating farmers in year one and two.

This year’s workshops include:

  • The Business Health Check – a simple benchmarking exercise carried out on farm, after which the anonymised results are reviewed to show the importance of keeping and using records
  • Practical cost management – exploring ways of making efficiencies and practical cost-saving techniques
  • Getting to know your finances – how accounts are put together, and how they can advise your decision making on-farm
  • Business planning and managing change – encouraging families to look at their farm businesses, to identify short- and long-term aims, SWOT analysis, and how to manage change
  • Planning for your Future – this looks at how to engage the whole family in succession planning and future proofing your business
  • Managing your environment – looking at environmental recording and benchmarking, identifying your public goods, and opportunities and advice around farming in harmony with the environment

Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: “There has never been a more important time for farms to think about the future. The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme offers practical advice and support to help farm businesses flourish and by participating in this free programme, family farms ensure they are in the best possible position to maximise future opportunities.”

Applications are open until Monday 15th October 2018 and places are allocated on a first come first served basis, and subject to fulfilling the programme criteria.

Please contact Sarah Starkey on farming2020@herefordshireruralhub.co.uk or Tel: 07974 438517 or visit www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk/farmresilience for further details or to register.

 

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