Land management campaign makes final target push

More than 60 per cent of farmers, growers and land managers have renewed or joined Entry Level Stewardship to throw their weight behind the Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE), according to a Government survey.

News that voluntary land management is being actively put in place by farmers and land managers to provide environmental benefits has been welcomed by the CFE.

But the partnership warned that with just one more year to achieve tough targets, the work on the ground needs to increase. Delivery group chairman Jim Egan said: "In addition to retaining uncropped land and putting in place key target options, we need to see more than 200,000ha in voluntary measures.

"More than 20 per cent of farmers currently not doing anything for the CFE have now agreed to support the campaign. Their actions really will count."

Egan added that while the report showed things moving in the right direction, around 60 per cent of land which could contribute to the voluntary measures target is not being managed in line with the essential or "red box" requirements.

"Farmers need to ensure that their good intentions for environmental protection are managed in accordance with the campaign's essential requirements," he said.

"This could be as simple as keeping unsprayed stubbles until mid-February or replacing maize game strips with seed-bearing crops for birds.

"The Defra survey also revealed telling information about the important role being played by agronomists and advisers. At this crucial stage, it is important that farmers and land managers make the most of the range of advice that is out there and show that by using voluntary management they can produce more food and impact less on the environment."

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