There is so much going on right now that I thought it best to do a 2 weekly update rather than a monthly one. So this is the Rural Business Network update recorded on 22nd February 2021.

We’ve been busy on the farm, we are half way through calving and on the brink of lambing. I’ve seen a few hedgecutters out these past few days, trying to beat the 28th February deadline.  The sun has been shining here this afternoon and the evenings are beginning to get lighter – spring is most defianetly on its way!

It was the Farm Safety Foundation’s #MindYourHead campaign last week and this week the Addington Fund, The Farming Community Network, RSABI, RABI and Forage Aid have come together for Farming Help Awareness week and are sharing posts across their social media channels to highlight to the farming community the range of support available.  Go give them a like or a follow.

I was fortunate to attend (virtually of course) the CLA’s Farm Update North Event with guest speaker Janet Hughes, Defra’s Programme Director, Future Farming & Countryside Programme who spoke openly and honesty about the transition to the Envrionmental Land Management Scheme  which is the cornerstone of the government’s new agricultural policy. It includes the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery. 

To keep up to date with E.L.M search for Janet’s blog at https://defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/

On the 11th February, the Countryside Stewardship scheme for farmers and land managers in England opened for applications.

Through the scheme, farmers can apply for funding to improve your local environment – from restoring wildlife habitats and creating woodlands to managing flood risk.

Applying this year is the best way to prepare for the ELM Scheme,

Next Tuesday, 2nd March, I’ve organised a members-only event ‘Rural and Farm Captital Grants‘ update with Charlotte Newton, Rural Charertered Surveyor, Vickers & Barrass will provide further information, examples of what is covered and how to apply.

For those of you considering diversification, have you thought about a solar farm?  Do you know if you land is suitable for a solar farm?  Well, we have another member-only event next week, taking place on Thursday 4th March at 7pm with Mark, Tara and Richard from Lightsource BP who will provide an overview of the factors considered for selecting solar farm sites and will answer members’ questions. Lightsource BP is a global leader in the development and management of solar energy projects. They provide sustainable and affordable energy to businesses and communities.  This is a great opportunity to speak some of the team.

Make sure you join Rural Business Network now to access these event.  Membership for farmers and farm based businesses is just £5+VAT per month.

Coming up tomorrow at 7pm, we have Lamb2ewe – the story so far which is free and open to non-members.  Hear from Tom-Kitchen Dunn who from humble beginnings as a lamb box scheme, has grown his business into something unrecognisable in a short space of time.  Please make sure you register on the Rural Business Network website and then I’ll send you the Zoom link.

I am so grateful to Paul Armstrong from Hay & Kilner Law Firm who explained the different business structures at a recent event and the pro and cons of partnerships and limited companies and to Denise Read, from Keystone People & Business Support who went through what we need to have in place to be ready to employ.  Events are recorded and are available to members to watch and re-watch at a time to suit them.

I have started to add resources to the website, so if you are not yet ready to join, you can access the website resources for free.  I’m aiming to add more every Wednesday morning.  If there is something specific you are looking for, please get in touch: email me at jo@rbn.org.uk

Phew!  I think that’s it for now.  I look forward to seeing you soon.