Help for professionals who advise on managing water environment
From the 22nd of September the Environment Agency (EA) will be consulting on the updated River Basin Management Plans across England for a period of six months. Improving agricultural practice and so reducing diffuse pollution from rural areas will be an important opportunity for improving the water environment in the next six years. To help those who work directly with and advise farmers, the EA has, with the help of the agricultural industry developed the Key Actions that farmers need to consider in managing the water environment. This is targeted towards those organisations involved in providing advice to farmers. Further details of what the water quality position is in your local catchment can be found on the “what’s in your back yard” website, where you can also download the individual sections from the Key Actions.
The names of the 15 Agri-Tech Catalyst Award winning projects have been announced. In this first round of the competition, the winning projects will receive a share of £18 million of funding from government and industry to help accelerate agricultural innovation and their commercial viability. This includes £12.1 million funding from government (from the Technology Strategy Board/Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Department for International Development) with £5.7 million co-investment from industry. The winning projects are all led by UK companies and span 3 key areas of the agriculture sector – crops, livestock and aquaculture. Full details of the winning projects can be found here.
Defra awards 19 million pounds to help rural businesses
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has announced that more than 2,500 rural businesses are set to receive a share of 19 million pounds of government funding. This funding has been specifically designed to boost the competitiveness of rural farming and forestry businesses and it is believed that this extra funding will support around 5000 jobs across England. The funding is from the targeted Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS), part of the CAP-funded Rural Development Programme for England.
Could putting a value on coastal assets help to defuse conflict?
Coastal management can be a highly contested topic - a scheme to control erosion in one place may result in loss of beach frontage further down the coast. People value natural assets in different ways - one group of stakeholders may want to see changes that will benefit livelihoods but change the natural habitat and threaten species that other stakeholders hold dear. The latest Policy and Practice Note from LWEC, drawing on evidence from the Valuing Nature Network and UK National Ecosystem Assessment, tackles this issue head on, looking at how coastal assets may be valued and proposing a 'balance sheet' approach that could help.
Landbridge workshop: the conversation continues...
There has been a real enthusiasm from delegates of the landbridge workshop on May 1st to continue to reflect on many of the issues raised on the day via the landbridge blog. Dr Julie Ingram from the Countryside & Community Research Institute explains about her involvement in a European project which is attempting to synthesise and convert agricultural research outcomes into suitable formats for farmers, advisers and others in the supply chain. Land agent Sue Steer, gives her thoughts on the workshop and some of the lessons we can draw for reconnecting science and professional practice. Finally, Jonathan Brunyee, National Trust tenant farmer, agri-environment consultant and farm business management lecturer at the Royal Agricultural University considers some of the key challenges to better knowledge exchange between research and practitioner communities and offers his thoughts on possible solutions.
Further reflections on knowledge exchange
Following on from the landbridge workshop on May 1st, the landbridge blog has been updated with additional contributions from David Caffall, Chief Executive of the Agricultural Industries Confederation, who reflects on the role of the agri-supply industry in linking research and practice and agronomist Patrick Stephenson, who offers his thoughts on getting researchers and the land professions better connected.
Taking stock of the links between research and the land professions
Landbridge hosted a workshop on May 1st 2014 at the British Academy in London which examined the links between research and the land professions and how they might be improved. With contributions from leading practitioners and researchers, the workshop explored models and strategies for bringing research and professional practice together, what gets in the way of fruitful knowledge exchange, and how barriers could be broken down. The programme and presentations from the workshop are available here. The landbridge blog features reflections on the day from two delegates: Fiona Mannix from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Chloe Palmer, Farm & environment consultant.