The Campaign for the Farmed Environment is a fantastic opportunity to prove that a profitable farming industry is willing and capable of conserving farmland wildlife (whilst also growing good quality produce), without the burden of additional rules and regulations.
The GWCT is one of eight organisations, including the NFU and CLA, leading the Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE). We sit on the CFE’s National Steering Committee and provide advice and guidance on a variety of issues.
Of the various means of contributing to CFE (see ‘Background of CFE’ and ‘Supporting CFE’, below) we strongly advocate that farmers and landowners join the Entry Level Stewardship scheme and include in their choice of options ‘in-field’ habitats such as wild bird seed and nectar flower mixes, for which payments are made. The CFE Voluntary Measures are an alternative and/or additional means of benefiting wildlife and the environment.
In 2009 the then government proposed the effective re-introduction of set-aside (in the same year that set-aside was abolished by the European Commission). The objective of this new set-aside was to help conserve farmland wildlife and related resources, not to curb over-production.
Whilst supporting the objectives, the farming industry opposed the introduction of more rules and regulations requiring 4-6% land to be taken out of production as part of an additional Single Payment Scheme cross compliance measure. The ‘industry parties’, including the GWCT, put forward an alternative voluntary approach; the Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE).
CFE runs from July 2009 to June 2012 and aims to benefit farmland birds, wider biodiversity as well as soil and water resources. The Campaign is working with farmers and farm advisors to achieve CFE targets which include the adoption of more so-called ‘in-field’ options, such as wild bird seed mix and nectar flower mix, which benefit grey partridge, bumblebees and much more.
Farms and estates can support CFE by adopting certain Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) in-field options and/or CFE Voluntary Measures (see ‘Supporting CFE’ below).
Defra’s Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, Jim Paice MP, continues to support CFE but has stated that there is still some way to go and that if the farming industry cannot achieve the results voluntarily the Government will consider a compulsory approach. We need to make every effort to help the Campaign for the Farmed Environment succeed.