04-07-2014 13:49 PM | News

Voluntary efforts essential for farmers to retain Government trust



Farmers are being encouraged to add value to their land by grasping the opportunities created by new greening options.

Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE), an industry-led initiative of 14 partners already advises farmers across the country. However with opportunities with the new Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs), CFE is urging farmers to demonstrate how they manage their land to benefit the environment and so retain government trust.

Sam Durham, national CFE co-ordinator said: “Farmers need to act now. Greening is here and the industry must build on government trust to ensure future regulations work in our favour, while benefitting the farmed environment. Simple voluntary environmental efforts can make Greening work for everyone.”

NFU Vice President, Guy Smith, says, “It’s really important that farmers get behind CFE in order to future proof our farm businesses. One important measure we can all do is retain the buffer zones and margins on our farms that have the most environmental impact. These are crucial, not just for wildlife, but also for improving water quality and are an integral part of good pesticide stewardship. For example on my farm we will put our ELS margins against our EFA and leave them as our EFA when our agreement runs out in 2016."

Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape at The Wildlife Trusts, says, “CFE and its partners can provide the right advice to farmers to ensure that greening delivers maximum benefit for both wildlife and farming. Buffers have huge potential and can be managed and enhanced to create a network of species-rich grass margins that will benefit pollinators and other insects, as well as birds and small mammals.”

Dr Alastair Leake, Director of Policy at The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, says Fallow land and field margins can benefit wildlife in many ways. These strips can provide much more for wildlife by including a wild bird seed or nectar mix. This management can be agronomically beneficial and help control weeds as well as providing for farmland birds.

Henry Robinson, CLA President, says, “Farmers have the unique responsibility of balancing food production and environmental protection. The coming months give a real opportunity for farmers to show responsibility and leadership on the environmental challenges facing the industry. One way of doing this is through CFE voluntary in-field measures, designed to complement our greening choices.”

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