Taking stock as CFE turns two

Published on Wednesday, 02 November 2011 11:52
Posted by Scott Buckler

As the Campaign for the Farmed Environment celebrates its second birthday, new figures have shown that the equivalent of 73,000 football pitches has been put into target measures aimed at recapturing the benefits of set-aside

Campaign partners have praised the farmers, land managers, agronomists and advisers who have contributed to the achievements and re-iterated the need for effective co-operation as the CFE heads into its third year.

Recent figures from Natural England reveal a 32 per cent increase of CFE target options in Entry Level Stewardship. Of more than 41,600 ELS agreements, 11,600 contain CFE options. This equates to an area of 52,317ha, or around 73,000 football pitches.

Agriculture minister Jim Paice said: “I’m really grateful to those farmers who have supported the campaign during its first two years and done their bit to improve the environment. Progress has been made, but there is still a lot to be done over the next six months to ensure the campaign truly delivers on its promises."

Farmers and land managers can support the CFE in two ways - by gaining at least 30 per cent of their ELS points from key campaign target options or by putting three to four per cent of land into CFE voluntary measures. That level of support would ensure that national progress towards campaign targets continue.

NFU President Peter Kendall said: “The success of the CFE over the past two years has demonstrated yet again the value of the partnership approach. When it comes to balancing efficient food production with environmental conservation, co-operation will always achieve more than coercion, even at a time when volatile markets and major changes to the CAP are making it very difficult for farmers to plan ahead.

“Whatever the future holds on that score, we will achieve the best outcomes for farming and the countryside by farmers, advisers and conservationists working together, as they have so effectively in the CFE, to find the solutions that will enable us to produce more, while impacting less.”

The CFE has until June 2012 to gain enough support to fend off future burdensome regulation.

Even with CAP greening proposals, it remains a strong voice in the battle against regulation but only if farmers continue to support it over the winter and into next year.


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