Confusion hinders environment campaign

There is still confusion in the industry about what farmers and growers need to do in order to participate in the Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE).

The verdict came in a new annual report on the CFE, published a year after the campaign was launched. It reported that cross-industry efforts over the past 12 months have focused on raising awareness about the campaign through local events and promotional materials to provide farmers and land managers with advice on land management practices.

This meant that farmers and growers were aware of the campaign aims and recent surveys have shown that they are keen to "do their bit" to avoid the introduction of a compulsory approach. However, the annual report clearly demonstrated the vital need for all farmers and land owners to turn enthusiasm into actions.

Initial results from the Food & Environment Research Agency field work indicated that only 10 per cent of the farms visited were implementing measures voluntarily in response to the CFE. The partnership said it was looking at ways to address this issue.

The CFE partners were putting out a strong call to action to ask all farmers, growers and land managers to put their good intentions into practice during this harvest and autumn cultivation period.

Environment and rural affairs minister Jim Paice said: "The CFE has been making steady progress and the fact that farmers are volunteering to look after our biodiversity and natural resources is a great example of the Big Society at work.

"Progress has been made but we need to see farmers going further. The key priority for the campaign over the next 12 months will be to ensure that as many farmers as possible renew their entry level stewardship (ELS) agreements and carry out at least one voluntary measure to benefit the environment."

TAKING PART

- If you are not in ELS join the scheme and choose the key target options (in-field options).

- If your ELS agreement is coming up for renewal, renew it and take up key target options (in-field options).

- Retain your former set-aside and any other areas of uncropped land and record these on your annual Defra June survey returns.

- Most importantly, put areas outside of ELS into a campaign voluntary measure.


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