Review of items in the Farming Equipment & Technology Fund – reply by 1st April 2022

Defra are currently asking for feedback on the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund ahead of the next round. Some of you may have looked at the list last time and found that the item specifications didn’t quite fit your requirements; this is an opportunity to try and change things ahead of the second round. The link to provide information is below

The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund: review of items – Future Farming (blog.gov.uk)

Please respond before 1st April 2022

WHAT MAKES RED TRACTOR CERTIFIED BRITISH FOOD AND DRINK SAFE?

Whenever you buy and enjoy food and drink that’s certified to Red Tractor standards, you’re tucking into something that’s always British, and traceable, safe, and farmed with care. How can you be certain that food is safe to eat?

Firstly, we’d like to give a nod to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and explain how we work alongside this important government body to ensure the safety of UK-produced food.

Both the FSA and Red Tractor were created more than 20 years ago in the wake of multiple food safety scares, at a time when trust in British food was at an all-time low. The FSA is an independent government department working to protect public health in relation to food. We share information and work efficiently together to find solutions to food safety challenges and prevent fraud in the supply chain

This collaboration not only protects people’s health, but also aids the FSA’s mission to reduce the economic burden of foodborne illness and support the UK economy and trade by ensuring that our food has a strong reputation for safety and authenticity in Britain and overseas. The partnership is viewed internationally as an exemplar for how assurance schemes can work effectively with government bodies.

The Red Tractor assurance scheme covers not just farms, but the entire British food supply chain. This means the Red Tractor logo can only be used on food that has been grown, reared, transported, stored, and packed in the UK to all the required standards as defined by our rules. Here’s an example of what we cover using the nation’s favourite meat – chicken.

We have standards specifically designed to assure food safety at every step of the food supply chain. We carry out rigorous checks to verify that each step in the supply chain is certified and meets our standards – this includes all Red Tractor licensed food processing sites, which take raw products like cuts of pork and turn this into sausages, or potatoes into chips.

Then there’s fresh fruit and vegetables. These are the foundation of a healthy diet, but the way we tend to eat them comes with extra risks which need to be carefully mitigated. This is because they are frequently consumed without cooking – and we know this can minimise some of the most significant food safety risks.

Here’s an example. Imagine you’re making a tasty chicken Caesar salad from scratch. We know that making sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly vastly reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses, but beyond rinsing the lettuce, there’s not much you can do.

For this reason, raw and unprocessed foods need to be grown to standards which prevent food safety hazards from occurring in the first place – including testing the water that’s used to irrigate fruit and vegetable crops. Fresh fruit and vegetables need to be produced in a strictly controlled and hygienic way to reduce risk at each stage of the process and ensure your food is safe to eat. This means that Red Tractor certified fresh produce is safe to eat from the moment it is picked on the farm.

Having world-leading standards for food safety and food production has helped protect the UK from some of the outbreaks and food contamination incidences that have been seen in other countries in recent years, including the E.coli outbreak in Romaine lettuce in the US in 2018.

Alongside UK law and the work of the FSA, Red Tractor’s food safety standards are a major reason why just 3.6% of the population suffer from foodborne illnesses each year in Britain, compared with around 17% of people in the US according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

In short, by looking for the Red Tractor logo, you can be confident that rigorous food safety standards have been met and the produce can be traced right back through the supply chain to the British farms it came from.

Countryside Stewardship online information events

Applications for Countryside Stewardship (CS) Mid-Tier including Wildlife Offers are now open and close on 29 July 2022. Chris Seabridge & Associates, on behalf of Natural England, are offering two free online event webinars to help you understand more about the CS Mid-Tier scheme. This will include information about how to prepare a robust application for an agreement that will benefit your local environment and your farm business.

DEFRA update on Lump Sum Exit and Delinked payments

On 8 February, Defra released the Government response to the consultation on the Lump Sum Exit Scheme and delinked payments in England.

Lump Sum

The response sets out how the Lump Sum Exit Scheme will work. Defra will offer farmers who wish to exit the industry the option of taking a lump sum payment, enabling them to leave farming in a planned way. Once they have received a lump sum, they won’t be eligible for any further Direct Payments.

They expect that farmers will be able to apply from April 2022 to the end of September 2022. More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/lump-sum-payments-for-farmers-who-leave-or-retire-from-farming-and-delinked-payments.

As set out in the Agricultural Transition Plan, alongside the Lump Sum Exit Scheme Defra will provide additional support for new entrants.

Delinked payments

Defra also intend to replace the Basic Payment Scheme in 2024 with ‘delinked payments’.  Once they have introduced delinked payments, recipients will no longer have to farm the land to receive the payments until they have been phased out by the end of 2027.

Replacing the Basic Payment Scheme with delinked payments will make things simpler for both farmers and the Rural Payments Agency. It will free up farmers to focus on running their business and delivering the public goods that can be rewarded under the new schemes, including the environmental land management schemes.

Are you a landowner in North Herefordshire? Would you like help and advice in creating wildflower-rich habitats on your land?

UK conservation charity Buglife are working with partners in Shropshire and North Herefordshire to build a landscape scale, habitat connectivity project across the two counties. The project will seek to restore and create wildflower-rich habitats in our countryside following Buglife’s national B-lines network.

The B-lines network is a connected framework of 3km wide pathways that run across the entire UK, connecting all of our counties. The pathways join up our best remaining patches of wildflower habitat, and tell us where the most strategic place for habitat creation and restoration is to achieve landscape connectivity and enable wildlife to move through our landscape. Buglife and partners have been working in Shropshire to fill in these pathways with hay meadows, species-rich grazing pastures and wildflower-rich arable margins, and we are now looking to develop a project that takes in the B-line that crosses from Shropshire into Herefordshire.

In North Herefordshire we are working with the Herefordshire Meadows group to find interested landowners  who would like to be involved in this exciting project. We are looking for sites where we can create or restore species-rich grassland on land parcels of or over two hectares in size. If you are a landowner within the B-line shown on the map (pictured) and you would like to submit your interest to being involved in this new project we would love to hear from you. We will be able to offer landowners who fall within the project focus area advice, wildflower seed, tailored management plans and financial assistance with initial works on the ground.

You can look at our online interactive B-lines map at buglife.org.uk

Email Project Officer Kate Jones on kate.jones@buglife.org.uk by February 11th to register your interest in being involved in the project.

AHDB levy payers invited to have their say

In April this year AHDB levy payers will be able to have their say and influence the work AHDB does across the beef, lamb, dairy, pork and cereals and oilseed sectors. They will also be able to voice, what they think are the major challenges across the industry.

AHDB has looked at what they believe is important to levy payers and will be asking questions about whether this is the right focus.

For beef and lamb, this includes the work that goes into protecting the reputation of the industry. Marketing the benefits of beef and lamb to consumers at home and abroad through our We Eat Balanced campaign and exports work. Or the work that helps you build on the already strong environmental credentials of beef and lamb in the UK.

There’s the technical advice and guidance shared through manuals, tools and at events, including the Strategic and Monitor Farms. And the work on disease prevention, including BVDFree, tackling one of the biggest disease issues facing the cattle industry today, costing UK farmers, in total, between £25–£61m per year.

AHDB’s genetic improvement work provides an important way for producers to lift the productivity and profitability of their livestock enterprises. Genetic gain within the UK is currently worth £10.7m to the sheep industry and £4.9m per annum to the beef industry, with much of this work underpinned by AHDB’s programme of research, delivery and knowledge exchange.

AHDB also provides daily market prices and analysis of what’s on the horizon and what consumers are thinking and spending their money on.

You need to register to have your say and shape the future of AHDB at ahdb.org.uk/shape-the-future Registration should take no more than five minutes and needs to be completed by 31 March. You will then be contacted to have your say from 11 April for four weeks.

Free Mental Health First Aid and Awareness Training for Herefordshire

New Courses 2022 – FREE for Herefordshire 
Mental Health First Aid (2-day)
and Awareness Training (3 hours)

Mental Health First Aid Training normally costs £300 per person. Today its FREE! 
Who is this free training for: staff and volunteers of Herefordshire voluntary and community groups.

Herefordshire Council has funded this Talk Community programme of training courses (Mental Health First Aid and Mental Health Awareness) to help community organisations support the mental health and wellbeing of local residents as well as their volunteers and workers.

Mental Health Awareness training

– 3 hours, face to face
– or online

This 3 hour course is designed and delivered by Herefordshire Mind to enable you to understand more about wellbeing and mental health and what it means for you and your community. Things can impact on all of us that change our wellbeing and mental health for better or worse. This short session will increase awareness for you and others around you.
It will give you:
· an awareness of what is meant by mental health and mental health problems
· a knowledge of what vulnerability is and some tools to protect mental wellbeing
· information about how mental health conditions are diagnosed
· an overview of some of the signs and symptoms of common mental health conditions and what treatments are available
· what options are available to help support people with their mental health or when they are in crisis
Everyone will receive a resource pack including copies of the presentation together with useful information covering things like:
· Find the words (how to speak to your GP about a mental health issue)
· Self-esteem
· Anger
· Loneliness
· Stress
Who is it aimed at:
This is for you if you are over the age of 18, based in Herefordshire and looking for a basic introduction to mental health or taking your first steps into mental health first aid training. Priority is given to key partners supporting the delivery of the Talk Community approach. Find out more about Talk Communities HERE

Dates and Venues:

Online:

  • Thursday 20th January 10am -1pm   
  •  Wednesday 26th January 1.30pm-4.30pm 
  • Friday 4th February 10am -1pm   
  • Wednesday 9th February 1.30pm-4.30pm 
  • Thursday 17th February 10am -1pm

Face to Face:

  • Wednesday 2 March 10am -1pm at Cider Museum
  •  Friday 11th March 10am -1pm at Ledbury Community Centre
  • Thursday 17th March 10am -1pm at The Hope Centre, Bromyard

How to book: –

We will confirm bookings in January, once we have collated initial requests for places: 
· Call Fran Wheatley on 01684 312730 (voicemail available)
· Email: francesw@comfirst.org.uk
· Or book via the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Wellbeing and Recovery College website

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training

– 2 days face to face

With 1 in 4 adults suffering from mental ill health per year and 1 in 6 people reporting experiencing a common mental health problem (like anxiety and depression), in the last week, the chances are that you know someone who may be struggling.

This interactive, internationally recognised course will give you the skills and confidence to become a Mental Health First Aider including:
· an understanding of what mental health is and the range of things that can affect our wellbeing
· a knowledge of the most common mental health conditions
· the practical skills to spot the triggers, signs and symptoms of a range of mental health problems
· the confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress using the Mental Health First Aid action plan
· how to practice listening without judgement and with empathy
· how to help someone by guiding them to further support and the knowledge of a range of local and national resources
· An understanding of how to keep yourself safe whilst providing Mental Health First Aid and how to look after your own wellbeing.

MHFA is an internationally recognised, certificated training course delivered by local trainers who are trained and licensed by MHFA England. By training as a Mental Health First Aider you will become part of a community of over 77,000 people in England trained to support.

Everyone will take away a resource pack including a comprehensive MHFA manual, a personal workbook and action plan, a quick reference pocket card and local, national and online signposting resources.

This training is FREE, but would normally cost £300 per person to attend

Who is it aimed at:
This is for you if you are over the age of 18, based in Herefordshire and keen to learn how to be able to better reassure and support someone who is going through a tough time; or if you are working as a volunteer or in a paid role where you are more likely to come across people needing help to find the right source of support for their mental health. Priority is given to key partners supporting the delivery of the Talk Community approach. Find out more about Talk Communities HERE

Dates and Venues for 2-day course (face to face):

Museum of Cider, Hereford https://www.cidermuseum.co.uk/visiting  
· 
Day 1 – Tuesday 15th February- 9am-5pm
· Day 2 –  Wednesday 16th February- 9am-5pm

· Day 1 – Thursday 17th March- 9am-5pm
· Day 2 –  Wednesday 23rd March- 9am-5pm

Larruperz Centre Ross On Wye 
– 
Day 1 – Friday 1st April- 9am-5pm
– Day 2 – Friday 8th April- 9am-5pm

How to book: –

We will confirm bookings in January, once we have collated initial requests for places: 
· Call Fran Wheatley on 01684 312730 (voicemail available)
· Email: francesw@comfirst.org.uk
· Or book via the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Wellbeing and Recovery College

Herefordshire Council unveils new Climate and Nature Partnership Board

All systems go: green light for climate action programme in Herefordshire

In the wake of Cop26 Herefordshire Council established its Climate and Nature Partnership Board. The board will support the objective for Herefordshire to be a thriving zero-carbon and nature rich county by 2030.

The Council has appointed 15 individuals to help drive the implementation of the countywide Climate and Nature Action Plan, which has been co-developed with people and organisations across Herefordshire.

The Action Plan covers six key topics  –  transport;  energy;  housing and buildings;  waste;  food;  farming and land use. Gareth Williams and Ian Howie, both with farming connections in the county have been appointed to the Farming and Land Use sub-group.

The Board will steer the county’s Climate and Nature Action Plan, commission projects to help deliver it, monitor progress and is part of a long term push by the county to lead by example in taking action to mitigate climate change and bring about positive change for the benefit of everyone.

Councillor Ellie Chowns, Cabinet member for the environment and economy said “This is a key step in bringing people together to drive forward climate and nature action across the whole county.  We’re all passionate about protecting Herefordshire’s wonderful natural environment and wildlife for the benefit of future generations” adding we are extremely fortunate to have attracted such an exceptional, committed and diverse group of individuals to the Board, who will bring a wealth of expertise and knowledge through their roles in conservation, wildlife, architecture, the media, community energy, research, farming and land management, agricultural policy and running businesses.

The Board will encourage everyone in the county – individuals, groups and businesses to get involved in taking action on climate and nature.

Ellie Chowns, Herefordshire cabinet member for Economy and Environment, Herefordshire who will chair the board, said “We want to encourage everyone living, working and running businesses in Herefordshire to do their bit and take action to reduce their carbon footprint. Tackling the climate emergency needs us all to play our part so that everyone can continue to enjoy what our county can offer for many years to come.”

Farming Investment Fund now open for applications

The Farming Investment Fund opens today (Tuesday 16 November).

Farmers, foresters and growers from across England are urged to apply for grants to buy new equipment and infrastructure to help to improve efficiency and help us build back greener. This could include solar powered electric fences, water treatment systems that use ultraviolet light rather than chemicals and cameras for monitoring livestock.

The fund will be split across two strands. Firstly, the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund will focus on smaller grants for equipment from a set list including electronic seeders and chemical-free disinfection systems. Please note the deadline for this window of applications is midday on 7th January 2022.

Secondly, the Farming Transformation Fund will cover more substantial technology, with the potential to transform business performance. This strand will focus initially on water management with grants available to improve water use on farms for things like crops irrigation and constructing on-farm reservoirs.  If you are applying for this you will need to complete the initial online application through the online checker before 12th January 2022.  Projects with the best fit with the priorities will then be invited to submit a full application (deadline 30th June 2022).