New report shows nature-friendly farmers boost recovery

Guy Tucker field margin (c) Matthew Roberts

Local farm wildlife plans help Jordans cereal growers devote 30% of land to nature

A group of over 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 Derbyshire over 58 hectares of habitat and more than 19km of hedgerow are all managed to help wildlife. The two Jordans Farm Partnership farms in our county have become important places for our wild plants and animals. Various management practices have been put in place to target some of the species that have suffered serious declines. Pollinators like bees and other insects, brown hares, skylarks and barn owls are all the focus for the landscape and nature conservation and enhancement plan in Derbyshire but a vast range of other species will also benefit from the carefully planned farm management.

I am a happier person as I see wildlife increasing on the farm. My father ploughed up hedges, but I’m planting them
Guy Tucker
Jordans farmer

Oliver Foulds, Living Landscape Advisor, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust says:

“Much of Derbyshire’s valuable wildlife habitat is now fragmented and sparse. A large area of land like this with wide, uncultivated field margins, bushy, berry-filled hedgerows, large plots sown with seed entirely to benefit pollinators and vast areas of overwintered crop stubble to help struggling farmland birds through the coldest months of the year really does make a big difference. I’m proud to be involved with the great work being done through the Jordans Farm Partnership and I hope that it will inspire more landowners and land managers to help transform the countryside back to the wildlife haven it used to be.”

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.”

Barn owl (c)  DANNY GREEN 2020 VISION

Barn owl (c)  DANNY GREEN 2020 VISION

Stephanie Hilborne continues: “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.”

Ten years ago, we rarely saw a barn owl, we’ve now had breeding pairs
Stephen Honeywood
Jordans farmer

Locally and nationally the partnership is not only proving beneficial for wildlife but the farmers themselves. Guy Tucker farms 219 hectares at Greenhill Farm, Hertfordshire.  A third-generation farmer, he wanted to give back to the landscape that’s given his family a livelihood for decades.  He started supporting wildlife on his land back in 2003, so it was a natural step to join the Jordans Farm Partnership.

Guy Tucker says: “I am a happier person as I see wildlife increasing on the farm.  My father ploughed up hedges, but I’m planting them. Through the JFP conservation scheme, the input of Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust ecologist, Matt Dodds, has been invaluable, targeting improvements for species that are relevant to this area, in a practical and achievable way.”

Guy Tucker (c) Matthew Roberts Jordans Farm

Guy Tucker (c) Matthew Roberts Jordans Farm

Paul Murphy, CEO, Jordans Dorset Ryvita Company said:

“The Jordans brand has a long-standing commitment to nature and our work supporting conservation in the British countryside dates back over 30 years. We are immensely proud of the Jordans Farm Partnership and the positive impact it is having on much loved farm species such as owls, hares and bats. It is endlessly gratifying to see the passion and devotion our growers have shown to developing habitats and species on their farms and this report is a testament to what they have achieved.”

 Stephen Honeywood pond sampling with Wildlife Trust (c) JORDANS

 

Stephen Honeywood pond sampling with Wildlife T… (c) JORDANS

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.