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Things we're doing

Video: The North Cumbria Farmers Group

We're developing schemes that reward environmental land management. To make sure that those schemes work in practice, farmers and land managers across England are putting elements of those schemes to the test. It's one of the ways though which we're carrying out co-design. In this video, the North Cumbria Farmers Group share what they've been doing to help shape the future of our schemes.

Understanding and improving farming regulation

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Stanbrook Abbey

Some farming and land management activities are regulated to safeguard our environment and to protect the health of animals, plants and people. We do this through around 150 pieces of legislation, comprising primary and secondary legislation. All of this legislation applies to agricultural activity, and collectively constitutes what is known as the ‘regulatory baseline for agriculture’. This is a complex legislative picture and is not easy to navigate – we intend to improve and evolve this baseline in future as part of our agricultural transition outside of the European Union (EU). 

Slurry: making the best of it 

Slurry spreading in fields, Shaftesbury

Slurry contains lots of nutrients including nitrates, phosphate and potash as well as a host of other things that can benefit soil health and support crop growth. It can, however, create significant pollution to our water and air. Through co-design, our team joined with a group of farmers, industry leaders and experts to explore the subject. In this post, we’ll share what we’ve learned and how we plan to support farmers so that nutrients from slurry aren’t lost, that any damage to our environment is reduced and farmers aren’t dependent on expensive artificial fertilisers.

An update on the Lump Sum Exit Scheme and delinked payments 

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It can be difficult for farmers who wish to retire or leave the industry to do so. A lack of capital can prevent them. We think that our Lump Sum Exit Scheme could help them.  Last year, we ran a consultation with farmers and other experts, and the findings supported this view. In this post, I'll share a summary and our response. I'll also cover delinked payments and an opportunity for you to help shape our work.

Tackling climate change and extinction - the farm that’s showing the way

Cholderton is a 1000-hectare estate on the Hampshire/Wiltshire border. It participated in one of Defra's environmental land management test and trials to develop a model land management plan based on the exemplary principles adopted by the estate. In this guest post, Merrick Denton-Thompson shares his view.

Bigger, better, more joined-up conservation on farms

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If you want to encourage more of the right wild plants and insects on a group of farms, what parts of your farm should you target to get the best results? This is the question conservation scientist Dr Robert Hawkes explored with colleagues from the University of East Anglia, the Breckland Farmers Wildlife Network and Defra.

Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot 

In July, we opened the applications window for farmers to join our Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot.  In this post, Lisa Applin (Rural Payments Agency) and Tom Lewis (Future Farming and Countryside Programme) share the results of the application process, what the team learned and what they will do next.