The South West event brought together representatives of farming and environmental groups from across the region to discuss the relaunch and future direction of CFE.
Presentations included an introductions to environmental projects on the Clinton Devon estates and how they and their tenant farmers support the natural environment both within and in addition to environmental/countryside stewardship.
Yog Watkins of the Westcountry Rivers Trust spoke about the work he has been doing with farmers in the region around soil health, water quality and run-off prevention.
Local organic farmer Sam Walker explained some of the measures he has taken on Stantyway Farm to protect and promote wildlife, including the nationally scarce Cirl Bunting, and Paul Cottingham (NFU) spoke about the opportunities and challenges of CFE as a partnership project.
The event included a short walk to see some of the land around Bicton Arena on the Clinton Devon Estate and lively discussion over lunch, kindly provided at each even through a contribution from Syngenta.
The West Midlands event began with presentations from Matt Wilmott of Kings Seeds on the benefits of environmental farm management for farmland birds and the bride and enthusiasm with which many farmers approach this.
Prof Andrew Lovett of UEA spoke about the win-win opportunities of environmental benefits and farm business cost-savings evidenced in his work around environmental management in river catchments. Rob Wolton of Hedgelink then spoke to the group about the business benefits of retaining and managing hedges.
After lunch many of the guests visited Jonathan Boaz at Mill Farm to see and hear how he utilises both the less- and more- productive land on his farm to delivery environmental goods.
The Eastern region event opened at the Ellesmere Centre near Newmarket with local academics speaking about the opportunities and challenges of agri-environment schemes in supporting farm bird populations, and the biodiversity and productivity value of beneficial insects on farm.
Debbie Gosman of Natural England then spoke to the assembled farmers, advisors and CFE stakeholders about the Clean Air Strategy and options to address ammonia emissions on farms. Dr Tudor Dawkins FRSB closed the presentations with an examination of soil biology and the ways farmers can make the most of their soil, for their own yields and for the wider environment.
Guests then rode over to Park Farm to see the work the estate is delivering through environment management.
The next regional relaunch event will take place this Friday in the South East region.
Friday 5th April 10.00 – 1.30 including lunch, followed by an optional short farm walk 1.30 – 3.00.
Venue: The Fruit Rooms, Hugh Lowe Farms, Seven Mile Lane, Mereworth
This is a FREE event but booking is essential. To book please contact Paul Cobb on 07713 333160 or 01233 813186.
© NFU 2018