At the Birdfair in 2016 a plan for an event was formed and tomorrow it will finally become reality. For the first time members of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs and A Focus on Nature, the UK youth conservation network, will come together to learn about conservation on farmland today and discuss the prospects for working together to improve the state of nature on farmland in the future. The event is being held at the Allerton Project in Leicestershire and Rob Yorke has very kindly stepped into the role of the chair to ensure a ‘no holds barred’ day. Speakers will include farmers Emily Norton and David Goodwin, along with LEAF’s Quentin Clark and policy advisor Ed Barker. In the morning, following an introduction from Rob as well as me and NFYFC we will be led on a farm walk around Allerton. Then, after lunch, Rob will lead an afternoon of debate and discussion as well look ahead to 2030 and think about how we might work together to achieve a more biodiverse farmed landscape.
I’d really like this to be the first of many joint events between AFON and NFYFC, although we’ll have to see how tomorrow goes first. It’s only by working together that land managers and conservationists will be able to turn the tide of wildlife despair and begin to build it back from the brink. By building personal relationships early on I hope that it might become easier for the farmers and conservationists of the future to work together when they eventually control the direction of farming and the environment. Tomorrow is the first step towards this. I want to thank Defra for sponsoring the event and Sarah Palmer over at NFYFC for all of the work that she has put into the event.
If you want to follow the proceedings of the day tomorrow I, and hopefully others, will be tweeting using the hashtag #farmenviro30 (vast majority of those attending will be under the age of 30 and we are looking ahead to 2030, so this seemed appropriate). As it’s coming to the end of AFON’s Now for Nature week I’ll also be using #NowforNature. I will of course write a full blog post next week about how the day went and what it might tell us about farmland conservation in the future. For now, have a great weekend.