A group of more than 40 cereal farmers are proving that it is possible to help nature recover and make a profit.
A new report from The Wildlife Trusts shows how locally tailor-made farm wildlife plans devised by Wildlife Trust advisors with each farmer, are helping wildlife recover.
In 2018, Jordans oat growers farmed more than 15,500 hectares, providing almost 4,600 hectares for wildlife. Each farmer agrees to a minimum area equal to 10% of farmed land to be managed for wildlife. Birds such as linnets, butterflies like the silver-washed fritillary, and brown hares are returning to farms in the Jordans Farm Partnership; nature is thriving in their hedgerows, field margins and ponds, creating vital corridors to enable wild animals to spread out and move through the landscape.
Stephanie Hilborne, CEO, The Wildlife Trusts says:
“We are hugely impressed with the commitment of these cereal farmers to support wildlife and the environment, which will benefit generations to come. They are playing an important role in nature’s recovery. We hope other farmers will take inspiration from them and follow their lead; it shows that farming that works with nature makes sense. The Jordans Farm Partnership demonstrates we don’t have to choose between wildlife and profitable food production.
“Our new report comes at a critical time for agriculture. We live in one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world and as over 70% of our land is farmed, The Wildlife Trusts want to see farmers properly rewarded for creating and restoring habitats. Successful farms need thriving wildlife because crops depend on pollination, natural pest control and healthy soils – all these underpin our ability to grow food into the future.”
Each of the 42 farms in the Jordans partnership works with an expert advisor from their local Wildlife Trust and has a bespoke plan to support wildlife, focussing on key species and habitats which are important to the farm’s local landscape.
Water as well as land is part of the farm plans. Waterways are protected by six metre buffer strips to help prevent fertilizer and pesticides from entering channels and keep freshwater habitats clean. This is good for wildlife and for people too - it means our drinking water needs less treatment.
The new Jordans Farm Partnership / The Wildlife Trusts’ impact report shows how Jordans farmers are working for wildlife throughout the UK across a diverse range of habitats: 768 km of hedgerow, 485 ha of field margins, 954 ha of woodland, 131 km of waterways and 94 ponds.
All JFP farms are also members of LEAF Marque, a farm assurance system which promotes food grown sustainably with care for the environment. Farmers also work towards conserving and creating healthy soil.