The Chilterns are famous for their chalky soils, precious chalk streams, ancient woodland, rolling farmland and rich industrial heritage that has helped shape the landscape. Farming continues to play an active part in the landscape and the Chilterns Conservation Board is keen to help farmers understand changes that are being proposed in the new 25-year Environment Plan and the Agriculture Bill.
These changes will be wrapped up into a package of public goods that will sit alongside food production. So what are public goods, what are the benefits of them and how can farmers incorporate these measures across their farms?
We have organised a programme of six short online webinars delivered by leading experts in their fields. The webinars are designed to give farmers a basic introduction to some of the major topics. We hope the webinars will give Chilterns’ farmers a better understanding of the themes and what it might mean for them and their farms.
Each session will last no more than an hour and will offer an opportunity to hear from key speakers, ask questions and join in some discussion on each of the six topics. Farmers signing up will be entered into a free prize draw and a chance to win one of a number of valuable prizes designed to help them implement practical steps linked to each of the key topics.
All of the sessions will be delivered on Zoom and will take place on Wednesday evenings (18:30-19:30). You can sign up for all or a combination of sessions - details on how to sign up for the events will be announced in the New Year.
We are very excited that Ian Waller (Chilterns Farmer, Chilterns Conservation Board member and Chair of the Central Chilterns Farmer Cluster) will chair the programme. To kick the programme off James Rebanks will share his passion for his upland farming in Cumbria, and why he feels so strongly that farming and the environment can and must work together, a theme he talks about so passionately in his latest book ‘English Pastoral’.
Ever wondered what butterflies, birds and plants live on your farm? Why they live on your farm? How you can create more habitat for them? Not sure how to fund any habitat works or how to enter Countryside Stewardship or how to manage your habitats?
Kirsty will offer an overview of how she helps farmers to look at their farms through the eyes of wildlife, help to identify opportunities to improve habitats whilst still working within your farming operations.
We have 3 Barn Owl boxes to offer to three lucky prize draw winners. Made and supplied by the Bucks Owl and Raptor Group they are made with recycled Stock Board and to a design tailored to the need of Barn Owls.
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 18:30-19:30
Speaker: James Rebanks ~ Why we need to farm with environment in mind
James will share his own views on changes in farming practices, the impact they have had on the environment and how he has worked to bring farming and the environment together on his upland farm in the Cumbrian fells.
A key-note session that will not only set the programme in context but will also help explain, in practical terms, what can be achieved and the benefits to farming as well as the landscape.
Wednesday 10th February 2021 18:30-19:30
Speaker: Jonty Brunyee, from Farm Ed ~ Introduction to Regenerative Farming
Looking after soils is a cornerstone of successful farming, for wildlife and to help address climate change. At FarmED Jonty is a key champion for practical ways in which farmers can work with their soils to provide benefits to not only their farms but to the wider environment.
Jonty will give an engaging introduction to the principles of Regenerative Farming and the impact they have on soil health, the environment and farm business.
Wednesday 17th February 2021 18:30-19:30
Speaker: Becky Willson, Farm Carbon Toolkit ~ Assessing your farm’s carbon footprint
Reducing carbon emissions will become the single most important environmental issue in coming years. Understanding how your farm contributes either by releasing carbon or storing it in your grassland, woodland and hedges is a vital first step.
Becky will look at key areas of your farming and help you to better understand your farm’s carbon footprint as well as highlighting areas you might be able to address to reduce it.
Becky will come out and spend a day on farm for one lucky winner and help carry out a full Farm Carbon Self-Assessment giving the basis on which to plan to reduce carbon emissions.
Wednesday 24th February 2021 17:30-18:30
Speaker: Dr Wendy Morrison, Chilterns Conservation Board, Beacons of the Past Project Manager ~ Understanding the history of your farm
The Chilterns are rich in their archaeological history. From ancient settlers, to woodland industry to your farm’s field patterns the past has shaped not just the wider landscape but your farm and how you are able to farm it.
Wendy will give an introduction to the history of the Chilterns and help you to not only understand how this has influenced your farm but also how to spot some features you may have on your farm and explain why they are there and how you might conserve them.
Beacons of the Past Project Officer Dr Ed Peveler will draw up a full LIDAR generated map of one lucky prize draw winner’s farm and offer an hour’s professional consultation on what the LiDAR shows, how and when the archaeology was formed, and advice on what can be done to look after it.
Wednesday 3rd March 2021 17:30-18:30
Speaker: Alister Leggatt, Affinity Water ~ Water friendly farming
The Chilterns AONB is a largely dry landscape and farmers’ ability to manage their water resources is fast becoming critical. The quality of both river water and groundwater can also be affected by farming practices leading to issues for both public water supply and wider ecology. The water we do have in our Chalk Streams is incredibly valuable and it’s vital that farmers look to the future to manage their land to preserve both the quality and quantity of water.
Alister will discuss some of issues affecting the water environment and how measures to improve soil health and husbandry can be key to improving water quality and share some examples of schemes that Affinity Water have been developing with farmers across their region.
We have a Sencrop “Raincrop” ag-weather station available to a lucky prize draw winner. Our partners, Affinity Water, will supply and install the weather station and pay the first year subscription that will provide real time weather data helping you and other local farmers make better local forecasts for your farm and the Chilterns.
Agri-environment schemes and the future - How to get the best for your business
You are invited to attend a free online workshop that the National Association of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB) have organised for farmers. The sessions will share details about the changes to agri-environment schemes that are happening over the next few years. The workshop is running on Tuesday 23 March from 1pm - 2.30pm. Click the button below to book your place.
The programme will cover: