Agronomists told to join the farmed environment initiative

The first training sessions for agronomists and farm advisers are being rolled out to kick-start the new Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE) (Grower, 13 November).

The training sessions will be led by the RSPB and the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust - with help from the Farming Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), Natural England and the Environment Agency.

They will explain the aims of the campaign, which hopes to retain the environmental benefits that were formerly provided by set-aside under the Single Payment Scheme, with details of its targets and advice on the actions growers can take.

NFU president Peter Kendall said: "All farmers, land managers and advisers have a key role to play in ensuring that the CFE is a success. It is therefore challenging advisers and agronomists to ensure that they understand the environmental challenges facing farming and the tough targets this campaign needs to achieve.

"We are urging agronomists and advisers to encourage their clients to participate in the campaign by taking out an ELS (entry level stewardship) agreement or undertake voluntary environmental management or maintenance and recording of uncropped land."

Country Land & Business Association president William Worsley added: "The campaign briefing sessions will equip agronomists and advisers with the latest information on environmental management practices. The fact that these first sessions are already fully booked shows that agronomists and farm advisers are ready to work with the campaign and to offer the best advice to their clients in achieving its aims.

"With the help of their advisers, farmers and land managers will be well-placed to choose the combination of infield ELS options and other voluntary campaign measures to ensure the best deal for farming and the environment."

FWAG technical director and chair of the national CFE delivery group Jim Egan has worked with the campaign partners to facilitate the first training events.

"The role of agronomists and farm advisers is pivotal to the success of the campaign," he said.

"Agronomists and advisers are known and trusted sources of advice - if they are involved in promoting the CFE and its objectives the campaign is more likely to succeed in achieving its targets."

One of the training sessions will be hosted at the RSPB's Hope Farm in Cambridgeshire. RSPB senior agricultural adviser Richard Winspear said: "At the RSPB's Hope Farm we can demonstrate the delivery of all three themes of the campaign in ways that are compatible with profitable, arable farming, using ELS.

"We look forward to discussing the implications of the campaign for farmers and their advisers to make it as easy as possible for farmers to contribute."

- For details of future training events or to find out more about the CFE visit www.cfeonline.org.uk.


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