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Things we've learned

Video Diary: Farmer Jess Brooks on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

The Brooks Family joined the pilot to help us improve the Sustainable Farming Incentive. For over a century, the family has worked on South Thorness Farm, which is found on the north-west coast of the Isle of Wight, within the Hamstead Heritage Coast Area Of Natural Beauty. Listen to how sisters Jess and Sarah, along with their parents Adrian and Joyce, run through the management of their mixed farm and their decision to join the pilot.

Monitoring, evaluating and learning in the Future Farming and Countryside Programme

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Small fields surrounded by mature hedgerows.

In previous blog posts we’ve written about how we’re adopting a test-and-learn approach across the Future Farming and Countryside Programme. We’re doing this to make sure our schemes, services and policies work for users before we scale them up. To make sure we’re on track to deliver our ambitions, we have a strategy to help us to monitor, evaluate and learn as we go. In this blog post, I’ll share a high-level overview of the strategy and some examples of how we’re putting it into effect.

The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund: review of items

Slurry injector injecting dirty water to a field via a umbilical system on the Blackdown Hills

The items for the first round of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund were developed with farmers, industry groups and other stakeholders. We’re adopting the same approach for the next round. We want you to tell us which items should be included, which items should be removed and which specifications need to be updated.

Video: Farmer Michael Orchard on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

We asked farmers helping us co-design the Sustainable Farming Incentive to share their experience in a video diary. In this video, Michael Orchard gives us a tour of his livestock farm in the Peak District National Park. He shares the improvements he’d like to see come out of the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot.

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). 

Our priorities for the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway

Mix breed cattle

Today, we published our initial priorities for the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway. They represent some of the best opportunities for improving animal health and welfare we have across each livestock sector. In this post, I’ll share those priorities. 

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.

Co-design in 2022: reflections, plans and principles

Three people in conversation at Dairy Day

More than 4,000 people from across the farming community in England are now working with us to design, pilot, test and trial new farming policies and schemes. In this post, we’ll explain how we’re working with the farming community. We'll also share the 7 co-design principles we’re encouraging groups to follow.