Farmers campaign to put nature at the heart of British farming
Greenhouse has been working to give a political voice to the thousands of farmers who are committed to managing their land for both wildlife and food production. We worked with farmers from across the UK to launch the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN), telling their stories in print, digital media, TV and radio. The NFFN aims to seize the once-in-a-generation opportunity to increase support for nature-friendly farming methods as the government considers a new set of agricultural policies and subsidies outside the EU. The farmers leading NFFN believe that worrying declines in wildlife and soil quality and the challenges presented by climate change mean that the methods they employ on their farms need to be scaled up rapidly with strong policy support. The launch this week at the Oxford Real Farming Conference could not have been more timely. Environment Secretary Michael Gove spoke on the first day of the conference, announcing that after 2024, farm subsidies would change to encourage pro-wildlife action such as managing woodland, maintaining water courses and planting meadows. Gove’s historic announcement may signal a revolution in the farming practices which have previously polluted water, eroded soil and led to a worrying decline in bird, insect and plant species. Changing these practices could fundamentally change our landscape, as almost three quarters of the UK is farmland. NFFN is supported by a wide range of organisations, including the National Trust, Buglife, the RSPB, The Soil Association, The Wildlife Trusts, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Bat Conservation Trust, Plantlife, The Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation and The Woodland Trust. Gove also met with NFFN representatives at the conference, stating his support for the organisation. “I look forward to working with everyone with a stake in our rural communities, including the Nature Friendly Farming Network, as we strive to improve biodiversity, tackle climate change and protect our soils,” he said. [caption id="attachment_2247999" align="aligncenter" width="751"] NFFN chair Martin Lines meets Michael Gove MP.[/caption] How Greenhouse supported the launch We worked with farmers across the UK to create engaging case studies showing that nature-friendly farming is both beneficial to nature and successful in business terms. We also achieved widespread coverage by sending journalists and television crews to around 20 interviews with farmers across the country. Within a few hours of the launch, the NFFN had been featured in more than 300 pieces of media coverage, including the Daily Mail, Farming UK and Farmers’ Guardian, and numerous radio and TV programmes. On Twitter, we posted impactful images and messages which have had gained thousands of retweets. Tweets from @NFFNUK received more than 50,000 impressions per day during the conference, with hundreds of journalists, campaigners politicians and farmers stating their support for the organisation. The NFFN is hoping to recruit farmers and members of the public – please sign up and show your support for the farmers investing in our landscape. And join the conversation on social media, by following @NFFNUK on Twitter and sharing some of the images in this blog. It is a great privilege to work with this group of inspiring farmers, who are true custodians of our countryside. Greenhouse also works with many other forward-looking people and organisations, from renewable energy companies to non-profit campaigns and innovators. If you have a great story to tell or are working to effect positive change, we would love to hear from you.