04 April 2022

assist header CFE

CFE visited Rothamsted Research in Harpenden to attend the end of programme event for ASSIST - Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems. ASSIST has been a collaborative project over the last 6 years to address challenges faced by the farming sector in balancing food production and the environment. This project has included not only scientific researchers but also farmers who have trialled alternative approaches on their land to gain information on how these ideas work in the real world.

Through this project they have used data found to create digital tools designed to measure soil moisture, target nature-based solutions on the farm and measure the outcomes of habitat creation. You can now view recordings of each presentation and relevant slides here.

ASSIST E-Planner

Every piece of land is different, and some areas of your farm are better suited to food production or habitat creation. To help farmers make informed decisions for their farms ASSIST developed E-Planner. E-Planner is a free, web-based tool to help farmers to identify the most suitable places for different environmental management options via easy to use, interactive maps.

E-Planner uses environmental datasets to produce maps of the relative suitability of land for a range of different environmental outcomes. These include:

  • Water resource protection
  • Woodland creation
  • Sown winter bird food
  • Flower-rich pollinator habitats
  • Wet grassland restoration

Suitability is based on combining data on factors such as topography, soils, nearby habitats, landscape features etc. Suitability is then presented as easy-to-explore ‘heat maps’ for a chosen farm. The maps make it simple to compare the most suitable option for a given area of land or to find the most suitable location for a given option. E-Planner also provides links to best practice guidance on how to implement and manage options.


ASSIST Scenario Exploration Tool (ASSET) is a digital tool developed to explore the impacts of potential changes in the way we use the UK countryside. You can use ASSET to compare the ways in which future changes in the types of land we have (e.g. farmland, grassland, forest) and the way we use them (e.g. which crops we grow, what we use our forests for) might affect your business, society and the environment. ASSET can also help you discover the kinds of issues, datasets and models that scientists in the ASSIST project are tackling to help shape the future of sustainable agriculture in the UK.

The latest version of ASSET now contains 5200 possible combinations of land cover and land use change scenarios, and uses 12 measures of impact on society and the environment to generate a model showing you potential outcomes and trade-offs.

ASSIST Environmental Surveyor

E-Surveyor is a free mobile app that helps farmers and landowners monitor habitats by using AI to help identify plants from photos you take on your phone, learn which insects are associated with the plants, and allow you to undertake structured surveys and compare your observations with checklists.

assist partners_83833

Ask us a question about this page

Once you have submitted your query someone from the team will contact you. If needed, your query will then be passed to the appropriate NFU policy team.

By completing the form with your details on this page, you are agreeing to have this information sent to Championing the Farmed Environment for the purposes of contacting you regarding your enquiry. Please take time to read the CFE and NFU’s Privacy Policy if you require further information.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.