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A knowledge exchange network for researchers and rural professionals who advise farming and land businesses


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Have your say on the 25 year Food and Farming strategy

Defra is inviting people from the food, farming and rural business communities to attend an event organised by the Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network in Harrogate.  They will be presenting their findings from the consultation events they held across the country to identify key issues needing to be addressed in the development of a 25 year Food and Farming Strategy.  If you want to have your say, come to the free event at the Calder Room, Pavilions of Harrogate, Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, HG2 8NZ on Tuesday 1 December, 12 noon to 4.30 pm.  To book a place contact Holly Jones tel 01423 546251, email hollyj@yas.co.uk or you can book on line.

For more information see flyer.


Sainfoin, a natural anthelmintic for small ruminants?

Nematodes of the gastro intestinal tract are of major economic importance in livestock, particularly in domestic ruminants such as sheep and goats. Sainfoin, a legume forage that contains tannin, may play a relevant role in non-chemical control.  In addition, it may reduce methane emission from the animals, which find the plant highly palatable, and the flowers are also attractive to bees and pollinators.  A new technical note from the EU-funded LowInputBreeds project provides a useful overview of the research.


Future Proofing the Business : conference with CAAV and Burges Salmon

The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers and Burges Salmon are holding a conference at Chesford Grange Hotel, near Kenilworth on Tuesday 1 December 2015.   A wide range of topics will be covered including dispute resolution and mediation, tenancy law, risks and opportunities involved in diversification, share farming and contracting arrangements.  For information see the CAAV website where you may download a booking form.


Consultation on measures to reduce water pollution from agriculture

The Government commitment to sustainable agriculture and improving the environment is delivered through a range of tools, initiatives and best practice. These aim to protect and improve the water environment and support competitive agriculture. A consultation is being carried out on the introduction of a small number of new basic rules for farmers through legislation which will improve the efficiency of farms and help to reduce water pollution from agriculture, with a focus on phosphorus. This consultation is of direct interest to farmers, farm advisers and contractors and runs until 24 November 2015. If the proposals are taken forward the aim would be to introduce legislation during 2016/17.


New research network puts farmers in the driving seat

An unprecedented partnership of farming groups has launched a new network to support innovation by farmers. Innovative Farmers gives farmers research support and funding on their own terms. The network is part of the Duchy Future Farming Programme, funded by the Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation. The Soil Association, Organic Research Centre and Waitrose have been partners in the programme and are now joined by LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) and Innovation in Agriculture, ensuring that the new network represents farmers and growers across the industry.

In our latest Landbridge blog Tom MacMillan from the Soil Association tells us a bit more about how Innovative Farmers will work in practice.


Making towns and cities pollinator friendly

Insect pollinators are essential for food production and wild flower reproduction and they are under increasing pressure.  A majority of humans live in urban areas, but we tend to think only of the pressures on pollinators in the countryside.  It’s important that we also manage our towns and cities as pollinator friendly environments. LWEC Policy and Practice Note no 20 explains how this might be achieved.


Building cross-professional networks

Nuffield scholar Finola McCoy writes in praise of professional networks and the role of ''the honest broker'' in the Landbridge blog.  ''Many professionals have a 'healthy' suspicion of other professionals working in the same region,'' she writes, ''and may worry about losing clients or business. However, the reality is that this suspicion is often born out of ignorance of and isolation from other professionals and in general, the positive outcomes from networking outweigh the real challenges and the perceived threats.''  Finola's Nuffield report on ''Building Strong Professional Networks'' will be available during the autumn on the Nuffield Ireland website.


Organic farming at six year low says report

From a peak in 2009, land being farmed organically in England in 2014 was at a six year low of 296,683 ha, and organic farms had a lower average Farm Business Income (FBI) than non-organic farms for all farm types except Less Favoured Area (LFA) grazing farms, according to an independent report from Rural Business Research.  The Organic Farming in England report is drawn from the latest results from Farm Business Survey 2013/14 data and compiled by Charles Scott from the Rural Business Survey at Newcastle University.   Charles Scott said: ''However, as has been the case for some years, organic LFA grazing farms remained more profitable than their non-organic counterparts''.


Farm modernisation and rural resilience in Europe

The transdisciplinary European RETHINK research programme has been researching the links between farm modernisation, rural development and resilience in a world of increasing demands and finite resources.  Over the past three years they have been exploring alternative development trajectories, highlighting innovation opportunities and identifying potential synergies between farm modernisation and sustainable rural development across Europe.  One of their main goals has been to help overcome simplistic viewpoints of what modernization entails and to identify best practices supporting a sustainable agriculture in vibrant rural areas.  Their final end of project conference takes place on 2 December 2015 in Brussels. For more information on the project, the programme and the online registration portal visit www.rethink-net.eu












"The more knowledge you share, the more you will benefit in return"

Mike Butcher, Agronomist and Landbridge member