|"Phil the farmer" giving lots of sound, practical advise to CFE advisers. (If only the jokes were as good!)|
CAP Greening measures. Ecological Focus Areas. The 3 crop rule. Water Framework Directive. Soil Protection Review. Cross Compliance. GAEC. Tried & Tested. Voluntary Initiative. NELMS. Believe you me I could go on and on and on!
All of the above will most likely be complete jargon to the non-farmers amongst you, but it is just a tiny fraction of what anyone running an agricultural business needs to be up to speed on nowadays, otherwise it could result in hefty fines or penalties. But what do they all mean and how do they translate onto individuals farms?
It is a very big ask for busy farmers to get abreast of so many edicts, so step up the CFE – yet another acronym – but this time a free, friendly and helpful one!! CFE stands for the “Campaign for the Farmed Environment” which has an advisor in every English county, there to help farmers deliver the best possible practices for water, soil and wildlife on their farms.
CFE advisers are not in competition with other conservation groups, but work closely with all locally based experts, organising timely events so that the farmers attending, quickly get a distilled, succinct, clear message as to what they should be doing. At a time of so much change in the farming world, this can literally be a God send to farmers, already overloaded by the burden of red tape.
Last week the CFE advisers from across England attended a training event at the GWCT’s own farm at Loddington in Leicestershire. Training courses such as this are important so that advisers are clear as to what the message is and confident that they clearly see how decrees, often created in Brussels, are then translated and adapted to fit into a typical English farm – not always an easy transformation!!
GWCT’s Jim Egan, a wonderfully grounded, clever organiser of people, headed up the morning with his usual enthusiasm and the lively discussion was full of tips, successes and indeed failures, as to what works well and what does not! Then, following lunch, we all spilled out onto the farm to hear the wise words of Phil Jarvis, the farm manager.
Phil has the great ability to unscramble reams of regulations and instructions, deciphering them all into a down-to-earth, practical and usable format. Don't you reckon that the best advice usually comes from the person who actually has to do it for real!
I head up the Campaign in my own county of Hampshire and have found one of the most rewarding aspects to be the “bringing together” of a really quite diverse array of organisations, to work alongside each other, so that farmers receive a joined up clear message. That is so important.
If you would like to find out more about the campaign go to; http://www.cfeonline.org.uk/home/
And if you would like to read Farmer Phil’s blog, then go to: http://loddingtonestate.blogspot.co.uk/