Nature friendly farmers hit the headlines
The Government’s Agriculture Bill represents the biggest change our countryside has seen in over 50 years. Currently in its draft stage, the Bill sets out a new food and farming system that rewards farmers for delivering public goods such as soil health, water quality and wildlife habitats.Intensive farming has had a detrimental impact on the environment and experts predict that some of our most productive land and precious wildlife will be eradicated within the next 40-60 years, unless we take drastic action to reverse the decline. The new Agriculture Bill is definitely a step in the right direction, but the Nature Friendly Farming Network says it currently fails to hold all farmers to account on the environmental impact of their farming methods, which will threaten our long-term food security. Making nature friendly farming the norm Today, at the Oxford Real Farming Conference, Greenhouse is supporting the Nature Friendly Farming Network with a call for an amendment of the Bill. They want the Government to launch an independent regulator that requires all farmers and land owners to meet clear minimum standards to safeguard, maintain and enhance animal welfare, the farming landscape and the agricultural industry. Martin Lines, Chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network, says: “It is the Secretary of State’s duty to establish an independent regulator before it’s too late. We can only guarantee long term food security by protecting and managing the natural assets which enable food production. If the Government does not amend the Bill to include minimum standards - and put a stop to the environmental degradation caused by intensive farming - British farmers will be in danger of losing their livelihoods.” This morning we secured coverage with the Chair, Martin Lines, on BBC Breakfast and BBC Farming Today, while the Welsh Chair of the network, Tony Davies, had eight back to back live interviews with regional radio stations across the UK. The story has also been featured in BBC News, The Times, The Daily Express, Yorkshire Post and Farming UK. Nature Friendly Farming Network’s anniversary One year ago today, Greenhouse launched the network in Oxford and, over the past twelve months, the group has become an influential political force, campaigning in Westminster and working to ensure the nature-friendly farming agenda is a key component of the Agriculture Bill. During the week of the launch, we secured over 480 broadcast, print and online features, with a combined reach of over 20 million, and arranged for 20 regional TV crews to film nature friendly farming in practice. Since then, the Network has attracted over 2,000 members. Many MPs, including Environment Secretary Michael Gove, support the network and often cite its members as representing the future of British farming. If you are an organisation working on changing policy to benefit the environment and are looking for communications support, we would love to hear from you. Contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0117 214 1250.