In the latest episode of the Future Farming Podcast, Cambridgeshire farmer Martin Lines and Sustainable Farming Incentive lead Jonathan Marsden talk all things Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) and environmental land management.
I am the Defra lead for development of the Standards that will make up the Sustainable Farming Incentive.
I joined Defra, previously Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) in 1997 as a field officer in Derbyshire advising farmers on the first version of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and the North Peak Environmentally Sensitive Area. I have since managed the Entry Level Stewardship Scheme and worked on advice programmes such as Catchment Sensitive Farming.
Alongside my career in the MAFF/Defra organisation I have continued to farm with my family in the Peak District. We keep 200 dairy cows and followers on what is best described as ‘challenging’ terrain.
As a farmer, I am only too aware of the financial pressures which force farmers to make short-term decisions to address an immediate need. This isn’t always ideal for the environment and the sustainability of farming in the longer term. The marketplace is very good at driving the efficient production of high-quality grain, meat, milk and vegetables for today and tomorrow, but less so at rewarding high water quality, great soil or increasing the numbers of birds and insects over time. In this post, I’ll explain how the Sustainable Farming Incentive will start to redress the balance and how it will reward farmers for delivering environmental benefits as well as efficient food production.
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The Future Farming blog is managed by Defra’s Future Farming and Countryside Programme.
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