Chris Seabridge and Associates organised two engaging meetings supported by the Campaign for the Farmed Environment and considering ‘Water on your Farm’: looking to improve resource protection as part of viable farm businesses. CFE aims to help farmers to use the right measure in the right place at the right time and demonstrate the benefits that farmers provide to the environment.
Our first event was an evening meeting in Shifnal to look at the practicalities and benefits of a switch to controlled traffic farming (CTF). Speakers included Tim Chamen, international expert on CTF, and Nigel Adams, a local farmer who is implementing the technique. An interested audience of local farmers enjoyed a stimulating discussion around Nigel’s experiences with the technique, informed by Tim’s expertise. Ken Downward of Natural England backed up the CFE messages by providing information on grants available to support changes that will improve water resource protection.
The lead speaker for the second evening was Nick Tilt, a LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) farmer from near Ludlow, who talked about his multi-faceted farm business which includes egg-layers and heifer rearing supported by a successful arable enterprise on around 220 hectares as well as diversification into related enterprises such as importing dairy equipment and letting property: all aimed at ensuring the core business is viable and sustainable. Nick explained his farming philosophy, which is based on keeping the land in good heart and the bottom line healthy. His approach to soil management and care for the environment means that improvements in soil and water quality follow naturally. He told the audience how LEAF fits in with his approach to sustainable farming and helps to improve his returns. He has made good use of grants for environmental improvement, working with Severn Trent Water and with Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) to make it easier to implement the improvements he wanted. Ben Young of Severn Trent Water and Jo Baird from CSF explained more about grant availability.