Why ‘farm for nature’?
Nature on the farm is the entire suite of natural resources including soil, water, plants and animals that comprise the farming landscape. Farmers manage these resources and interact with nature on a daily basis to produce food. In a modern agriculture and land management context farmers are asked to do more than just produce food but to manage nature to produce a range of other services that society needs including climate and water regulation services, space for nature and provide aesthetic landscapes. To provide this range of services Farming for Nature seeks to demonstrate and support farming which protects and enhances nature on the farm.
Reasons for including nature in farming decisions:
- Pollinating and predatory insects are key to our food production. The decline in insects through increased insecticide use, combined with a decline in suitable habitats, will result in reduced pollination, more pest outbreaks and increased costs of food production.
- Hedgerows are a key habitat for our native flora and fauna. Hedgerows removal or over-cutting means less wildlife but also less shelter and shade for your livestock. It may also increase the risk of flooding, erosion and airborne diseases.
- Healthy soils are the foundation of sustainable farming. The more earthworms and microbes in your soil, the better functioning the soil (e.g. improved nutrient cycling, improved soil structure, more carbon etc.)and more nutritious your crops will be, which in turn will lower costs you face in production.
- Watercourses, if well managed, will not only improve local biodiversity but will also help ensure cleaner water for livestock and people, in addition to reduce flood risk or drought mitigation.
- Income: most farmers take part in agri-environment schemes and incentives are evolving towards public good for public money. Future schemes will most likely reward those farmers who deliver most: by managing nature well on your farm, you provide more to society and you will have the opportunity to enhance farm economic viability.
- Legacy: by farming for nature you are creating a legacy for future generations and contributing to a better future for all.
Do you have any suggestions to add to the above, then please do not hesitate to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Want some quick ideas on where to start improving nature on your farm? Go here
Quick guides on how to do by landtype go here
Looking for more links, videos, podcasts and resources? Go here
The development of this section has been supported by the National Parks and Wildlife Service
and the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine