The end of Windows 7. Can you afford not to change?

Windows 7 is one of Microsoft’s best-loved computing operating systems.  Like all operating systems before it, Windows 7 will very soon reach the end of its lifecycle, as Microsoft will end support on 14th January 2020.

Once an operating system ends support it is no longer safe to use, as Microsoft will cease patching any security threats and will not add any new features. Third party software will begin to stop supporting the operating system and many financial websites, such as online banking, will become unsafe to use and vulnerable to attacks and data theft.

Although Windows 7 will not suddenly cease to work after 14th January 2020, continuing to use it will open your devices and precious data to more and more malicious attacks. There may be a short-term cost in migrating outdated equipment to a new and secure Windows 10 device, but in a world where all your information is held on your computer or online, have you considered the cost of doing nothing?

Microsoft suggest a ‘three-step plan’ for moving past Windows 7:

1. Back up of all your files and photos
2. Pick out a suitable new PC that is right for you
3. Immerse yourself in learning the new Windows 10 user experience.

If you use bespoke programs such as Farmplan, Landmark or Sum-It, their tech teams will be able to give you advice and guidance on the process.

All three companies have stands at the Herefordshire Rural Business Advice Day on 20th November, so come along talk to them there.

This information about Windows 7 has been kindly supplied by Farmplan.

New rules on water use and abstraction – don’t lose your previously exempt abstraction rights

Water abstraction rules have changed and most previously exempt activities cannot continue without an abstraction licence in place. Time is running short to secure a licence for previously exempt abstractions, which is why you need to apply now, in good time before the 31 December 2019 deadline.

If you abstract more than 20 cubic metres (4400 gallons) of water per day, and the activity for which you abstract was previously exempt from the need for an abstraction licence, you may lose your rights to continue with this activity unless you apply for a licence now.

The following forms of abstraction now require a licence:

  • All forms of irrigation, including trickle – even if you already have a licence for spray irrigation;
  • Abstractions within previously exempt geographical areas, which include parts of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and South Shropshire;
  • Transferring water by a navigation, harbour or conservancy authority;
  • Abstracting water into and between internal drainage districts;
  • Dewatering mines, quarries and engineering works;
  • Warping (abstraction of water containing silt for deposit onto agricultural land);
  • Abstractions for managed wetland systems and water level management plans, as well as Countryside Stewardship agreements with flooding/wetland options;
  • The majority of abstractions covered by Crown, visiting forces and the Ministry of Defence.

These changes to water abstraction rules will better protect the environment by helping to balance the needs of abstractors, while protecting scarce water supplies and the plants and animals that rely on them.

So what do you need to do?

Application forms and further information on how to apply are available at: .

The Environment Agency strongly encourage everyone affected to submit a valid abstraction licence application to them by the 31 December 2019 deadline, to secure their existing water needs.

It is important that applications are sent to the EA as soon as possible. By applying now it will allow time for them to check that they have all of the information needed for each application – known as making the application valid.
It can take up to 3 months to validate an application.

Failing to make a valid application on time means that you will miss the more favourable transitional arrangements provided by the new Regulations. These benefits allow you to have a licence based on evidence of recent past use (based on a time period of 2011 to 2017), as well as the inclusion of lighter touch restrictions on any licence issued, compared to usual restrictions.

This is a one-off opportunity and a highly valuable provision that cannot be retrospectively applied after the 31 December deadline. After then, all applications will be assessed on the basis of water availability which, in some parts of the country, rules out abstracting water in the summer months.

EA are committed to helping people who were previously exempt get their application forms completed and validated before the deadline closes. They have a free hotline and bookable appointment service to help with drafting applications or answering any questions you may have.
Call 03708 506 506 and ask for the ‘New Authorisations hotline’ or
email stating ‘New Authorisations’ in the email subject to find out more.

The EA may take enforcement action against those that do not have a ‘valid’ application after 31 December 2019, but continue to abstract water.
Continuing to abstract after this deadline, without submitting an application, will be unlawful. It is therefore important not to miss the deadline.

What is an abstraction?

An ‘abstraction’ means any water that is removed (taken or partially diverted) from a source of supply (for example a river, stream, ground or other watercourse) either by a pump, structure or other means. This also includes water transfers, whether the water is consumed in some way or not.

Water removed from a source of supply and returned (for example downstream) is also an abstraction (for example transfer through a water meadow system) and will also now require a licence.

If you are a householder, farmer or business taking water from a river, stream or ground (borehole), you firstly need to check if you abstract more than 20 cubic metres (m3) per day (or more than 4400 gallons per day). As a rough guide this is a similar amount to a medium sized milk tanker or equates to 260 baths a day. So, a single household is not likely to need a licence, unless it is part of a collection of houses on one borehole supply which may exceed 20m3 per day.

If you abstract/transfer less than 20m3 per day you do not need to apply for a licence.

TB – Resolved Inconclusive Reactor Policy

This policy came into effect on 1st November 2017.

A resolved IR is an animal that had an inconclusive test result, but then subsequently has a clear re-test.

  • Following the clear re-test of an IR on a holding, in the High Risk Area (HRA), Edge Area, and TB breakdown herds in the Low Risk Area (LRA) of England, the resolved IR is restricted for life to the holding on which it was found.
  • These restrictions may be lifted following a subsequent negative interferon-gamma blood test of the individual animal, either carried out by a Private Veterinary Surgeon (with permission from APHA), or during a mandatory interferon-gamma test carried out by the APHA.
  • Resolved IR’s can only be moved off the holding under licence from APHA, either directly to slaughter or to an approved finishing unit. If a resolved IR tests positive to the gamma test, it is considered a reactor and normal TB breakdown procedures apply.
  • It is recommended that these animals are physically identified, such as freeze branding, management tag or marking the passport, to prevent them from accidentally moving off the holding.

For more information please use the links below or contact APHA on  03000 200 301

Farm Herefordshire Evaluation Survey

The Farm Herefordshire initiative has been running for a number of years with the aim of promoting good practice, training and advice to farmers. The key aim is to help farmers reduce diffuse pollution in the River Wye catchment. This is because Herefordshire faces a number of challenges in meeting the phosphate targets of the River Wye’s special area of conservation. All industries, including agriculture, are expected to reduce their contributions proportionally and Farm Herefordshire was established to support farmers in doing this. It is supported by a group of organisations including the NFU that have formed a collaborative partnership to support farming in Herefordshire.
In order to gather further information on land practices in Herefordshire an evaluation of the initiative is being carried out by the Brightspace Foundation. The purpose of the Farm Herefordshire evaluation is to identify levels of knowledge about soil and water quality in Herefordshire and learn about any positive land-use activities that have been carried out locally. They are especially interested in gaining the views of farmers and land use managers. The survey only takes a few minutes to complete and your responses and time taken are greatly appreciated. Here is the link to the survey:

Free and confidential advice for farmers in the Teme, Onny & Clun catchments

Make your farm future fit  – FREE Water and Soil Plans

Our advisors will:

  • Visit and assess your farm
  • Identify your goals and visions
  • Develop a plan with you

We can offer: 

  • FREE Soil Testing – to assess your soil structure and test for organic matter, pH, P, K. and Mg.
  • Nutrient Management – we can check your farm for erosion risk.
  • Water Management – we will look at the sources, pathways and receptors of water on your farm

Why you should sign up?

  • Keep your farm compliant
  • Get your farm future fit
  • Find out about funding opportunities

To arrange a visit or check if you are in the catchment area, please contact your area advisor

  • Teme Catchment
    Katherine Whistance, 01886 888394 / 07968 391041
  • Onny Catchment
    Ame Holroyd, 01938 559500 or 07812 113918 email
  • Clun Catchment
    Fiona Gomersall 07539 752897 email

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Farmers visit Duchy Home Farm

Blessed with some late summer sunshine, the West Worcestershire/East Herefordshire Farm Resilience group took at trip to Duchy Home Farm, Gloucestershire.

The 770 ha organic farm, comprising of mixed livestock and arable production gave the group food for thought as the dairy, beef and sheep enterprises were all explored during the visit. The importance of woodland management, grassland management and the using of rare breed/heritage varieties all play an integral part in the running of this commercial farm.

The day was organised through the Prince’s Countryside Fund programme with funding from The NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.

Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund Applications 2019

This fund is now open to help GROUPS of farmers, foresters and land managers improve the natural environment, enabling them to work together on a landscape scale to have a positive impact on the environment. Local projects already being funded include Land, Life and Livelihoods, Go Wild in the Curl and Herefordshire Meadows.

  • Application details and guidance HERE
  • Date for applications to be submitted by midnight 4th October
  • Application eligibility checking 7 – 11 Oct.(By RPA)
  • Contracts and agreements drafted and in place by end of December to allow a 1 January 2020 start.

Welsh Water free pesticide disposal scheme

Welsh Water are currently offering a Free Pesticide Disposal Scheme across Wales and within their English drinking water catchment area.
This includes the River Teme catchment and parts of the River Wye catchment.  A map of eligible areas is available HERE.

They will collect pesticides, herbicides, sheep dip and slug pellets.

  • To take advantage of this offer you will need to register with Welsh Water BEFORE 30th SEPTEMBER 2019
  • They will then confirm if you are eligible, and will pass your details to their third party contractor to ensure your confidentiality.
  • The contactor will arrange a collection date with you which will be between October 2019 and February 2020

Full details about the scheme and how to register are on the Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water) website HERE  or Tel: 01443 452 716

Future Farming – information about changes to farming in England after we leave the EU

Defra have published a document to help increase awareness and understanding of the changes in the farming industry in England that will follow after Brexit.

The “Farming is Changing” leaflet gives a summary of Defra’s policy decisions to date, including the phasing out Direct Payments, and information on Environmental Land Management schemes.

You can access the document by following the link HERE.