CHURCH SERVICES: Sunday, at St Peter’s Church, 8am Holy Communion, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am Parish Communion followed by coffee in the hall.
DON’T FORGET: The Monday Afternoon Club meets on May 8 in Offham Church Hall at 2pm. It should be an interesting afternoon, especially for those who like the Body Shop products. Entitled The Body Shop on Tour hosted by Sharon. Pamper afternoon and a chance to buy products. Once you have chosen your favourite beauty products you can then enjoy a lovely tea with home-made cakes. If you require a lift to the meeting you can call Judith on 01273 474356 or Caroline 01273 477151.
FARMLAND BIRD COUNT: Landowners and farmers up and down the country took part in the Big Farmland Bird Count in droves, with 240,000 birds being processed in the count. A total of 112 species and 22 red list species were counted across the UK, including fieldfare, starling, house sparrow, song thrush and yellowhammer. The most abundant of these, fieldfares and starlings, were seen on more than 40 percent of the farms taking part. For the third year, the top four most abundant species were wood pigeon, starling, rook and fieldfare with chaffinch coming in fifth. Jim Egan, Head of Development at GWCT said that he was delighted that so many birds have been recorded in the fourth big count. It is an opportunity for farmers to see the results of their hard work. Of the species recorded 22 were red listed, the highest conservation priority species which need urgent action. To help these species there are several options for farmers in terms of management and the three red listed species that he draws attention to are tree sparrows, yellowhammer and skylark. For the first time, farmers were able to submit their results on line, meaning they can access a wealth of information about the birds they are recording at their fingertips. The types of farms taking part reflected the full range of farm businesses, with 65 percent growing arable crops, 49 percent having beef or sheep and 14 percent growing field vegetables. Nearly 60 percent are in some form of agri-environment scheme, demonstrating their long-term commitment to environmental management. The Big Farmland Count receives support from farmers and landowners, as well as a range of farming, industry and conservation organisations. Sponsored by BASF, the count is run in partnership with the FWAG Association, LEAF Linking Environment and the NFU and CLA. The fifth GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count will take place from February 9 to 17, 2018 with bird identification training days being arranged across the UK during January and February 2018.
YOUNG FARMERS: It is good to hear that the South East area counties of the Young Farmers’ movement are enjoying a resurgence according to the chairman of the South East Area Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFC). Covering Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and Kent there are a host of events to compete in from sports to stock judging, fencing to clay shooting, debating and cake decorating. Over the coming issues of my South East Farmer they will feature on each of the counties, showcasing what YFC is all about. Each county is slightly different. Kent has a large number of school clubs keen on showing livestock; Surrey has a strong junior section; Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire are big tug of war rivals, but what all the counties and clubs have in common is a passion for farming, the countryside and developing the potential of young people. A farming or even a rural background is not necessary to join a YFC but a willingness to get your hands dirty certainly helps. The spring competitions in Oxfordshire were a great success. The public speaking competitions are often a nerve-wracking time for some of the younger members. However, there were some great performances in the junior reading. This year’s sports were ladies netball, men’s football and junior rounders. The sports change each year and are chosen by the National Federation of YFC’s. Young Farmers is more than just competitions. Every club is run by the members, for the members. Each YFC holds their own tailored programme of farm tours, charity fundraising, social events, training, stock judging and volunteering. The 6,000 strong national convention is open to all members over 18 years and is a fantastic weekend by the seaside allowing members to meet like-minded individuals from all over England and Wales. There are also opportunities to travel abroad with the YFC Travel Programme, as well as an annual ski trip to the Alps. If you, or someone you know, is aged between 10 and 26 years old and interested in joining the YFC, contact your local county federation. Their details will be on their website or Facebook page, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org where you will get help.
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