There are many organisations doing important work in rural areas, bringing people together, providing support and improving the state of nature. ‘Spotlight on…’ profiles some of these.
The Nature Friendly Farming Network is a farmer led, grass roots organisation which profiles a way of farming that puts nature and the environment at its heart. Very few of the public seem to realise quite how much work has been done by some farmers in recent years to improve the state of nature on farmland and it is important that we champion this work, to inspire others. The overall challenge we face when it comes to farmland biodiversity is severe, and recent statistics and reports have not provided optimistic reading. Yet, a growing number of farmers, from the Cumbrian uplands to the Cambridgeshire fens, are determined to do their bit to turn the tide on their own farm. Hopefully they will inspire others and bring farmers and conservationists together for numerous informal and formal partnerships and projects. They are a young group, only having been formed quite recently, but are already making an impact in policy making circles and their UK Chair, Martin Lines should be congratulated for the amount of work he has done on a personal level to inspire others. To read about some NFFN farmers click here.
For me, one of the best things about NFFN is that it is fully inclusive and its members include farmers from a range of backgrounds running big and small businesses. It also brings ‘conventional’ and ‘organic’ farmers together under a shared aim: to improve the state of nature overall. There remains a lot of work to be done, and it isn’t always easy to forge change and boost biodiversity. On my own farm I have around 50% of the overall land area in some sort of scheme to aid wildlife, and yet I know that there is more that could be done. Further, in order to make real change we need scale and we need hundreds of farmers involved in landscape scale projects. This, I hope, is something that the Nature Friendly Farming Network can inspire.