BFFA Farm Cluster Evening - Nov 2021
On Monday 15th Nov, the BBFA together with Stuart Milsom from Moore Allen and Innocent, Jonny Cooper and Sophie Scruton held a farm cluster information evening.
Notes on Braydon Forest Farm Cluster evening 15th November 2021
Robin Aird, Philip Akers, Emma Brook, Kate Butchart, Kevin Collingbourne, Malcolm & Nic Davis, Robert Gawthropp, Paul Gilbert, Carl and Debbie Goodman, Simon and Lizzie Graley, Brian Harris, Pat Hodges, Alan Holder, Stephen Howse, Ollie Hughes, Ruth Jeffrey, Sarah Kershaw, David Lewis, Craig Logan, Ann Maidment, Nigel Maidment, Robert Nutland, Will Ponting, Margaret Knapp, Sarah Windo, Michael Shepperd, Angela Vines, Tim Webb, Martin and Margie Wood, Sophie Scruton, Jonny Cooper, Lucy Kernon, Izzy Larthe, Stuart Milsom
Nigel Parfitt, Arthur Seynaeve, James Reed, Chris Morley, Keith Withers, George Kershaw, Sonali Fitzherbert, Ben Marsh, Joe and Ro Collingborn, Treena Ryall.
‘Setting the Scene’ – Stuart Milsom talked us through the change over process from BPS to Elms and the opportunities presented by Countryside Stewardship.
‘What is a farm cluster?’ Jonny Cooper gave an outline:
- Farm clusters are built on the grassroots idea of a farmer-led approach. Throughout the process of setting up the farm cluster and agreeing its priorities, targets and objectives landowners are consulted. As well being a core part of decision making once the cluster is up and running.
- There is also an element of local focus. Each farm cluster selects target species and habitats that it will focus on.
- Each farm cluster has a facilitator whose role is to foster the cooperation and help to develop new opportunities for landowners either in terms of land management and options or through training and new opportunities.
- It is also about building on what is already being done. A farm cluster aims to join up efforts between landowners to lead to landscape scale improvements. Many of you are already doing things on your land, this takes it up a notch.
- New activities will be identified that can further improve the farmed landscape.
‘A worked example’ Izzy Larthe explained how to meet the criteria of the Sustainable Farming Pilot at Sundey Hill Farm.
‘Braydon Forest Future Association’ Sophie Scruton spoke of the strong support for the initiative over the last year, the workshops and the community engagement. Notes on the work to date can be found here: https://www.horsellsfarment.com/braydon-forest-new
The following day SS attended the 2021 Farm Group Forum https://www.farmerclusters.com/2021/10/18/2021-farmer-group-forum/
Discussion among those attending:
Ann Maidment, Director of the South West CLA, said it was a great opportunity and that working collaboratively has become very important. Money allocated by the government for work during this Parliament, may not be there in the future, so important to take the opportunity now rather than wait for BPS to halve in a few years time.
She mentioned the success of a super cluster in Hampshire: Martin Down: (BFFA outing?)
Robin Aird, Estate Manager, Charlton Park supported the initiative, important to access the next stage of funding. Said we must be on the top of the curve.
Nigel Maidment, Street Farm Cleverton, said he thinks that the ‘feed the country’ priority is starting to change.
Malcolm Davis, echoed some of Nigel’s remarks about hedges and said it was important that they should stay stock proof.
Will Ponting spoke up for the advantages of a high, thick hedge.
Anne Maidment mentioned the ‘Local Nature Recovery STRATEGY’ which is a priority for Wiltshire Council. Local Authorities are looking for areas of opportunity to counter development losses.
Sarah Kershaw and others mentioned the helpful work of the Braydon Forest jigsaw project run by Paul Darby, one part of the Braydon Forest Farm Cluster application is to build on the legacy of Paul Darby’s work.
Izzy Larthe and Lucy Kernon added up the total number of hectares that those people in the room could join in a cluster and reported it was in the region of 3,000 ha.
Martin Wood asked how he could join. It was agreed that all those wishing to join should send a map of their farm and the total number of hectares.
Please send your maps, hectares and questions to Jonny on this address.