TV’s ‘ farming champion’

TV’s ‘Farming champion’ to highlight the future challenges and
opportunities facing local farmers

10 March 2011

 

Adam Henson, a regular contributor to BBC’s Countryfile and
Director of the Cotswold Farm Park, will highlight the potential
and importance of diversification at two special events for farmers
in Devon, Somerset and Cornwall later this month. Organised by
Business Link’s Rural Service, the RDPE-funded events will also
feature a panel of experts in an open debate on the steps that
local farms need to take to help secure their future.

“As we contemplate what many people are predicting will be an
agricultural revolution, it’s important to take advantage of an
opportunity to stand back from the everyday challenges that every
farmer faces and to consider how we can rise to the future
challenges and look at new ways of doing things,” says David Hynd,
Head of Business Link’s Rural Service team at Peninsula
Enterprise.

“Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for DEFRA, is not the only
person who’s highlighting that farmers will need to grow more food
at less cost to the environment in the years to come. European,
national and local governments are all driving forward the food
security, sustainability and environmental agendas, and it is clear
that decisive steps will need to be taken to ensure we have the
right skills, technologies, working practices and farming stock to
ensure UK food production keeps pace with the growing market
demand.

“We are on the threshold of a significant shift in farming
practices as the industry faces up to these challenges. These
special events for local farmers will seek to identify the
practical issues presented by such changes and highlight what steps
can be taken at this stage to adapt and ensure our local farms are
well placed to develop their commercial and operational performance
in the years ahead.”

Adam Henson joined BBC’s Countryfile in 2001 providing regular
reports from his own farm on the topical and practical challenges
he faces. A passionate supporter of farm diversification, Mr Henson
is widely regarded as an ambassador for British farming with his
attendance at practically all of the major farming and countryside
events and, last year, was presented with the 2010 Farmers’ Weekly
Farming Champion of the Year award.

With his business partner, Duncan Andrews, he farms around 3,000
acres, growing mainly wheat, oil-seed rape and spring barley, but
he also plays an active role in the work of The Rare Breeds
Survival Trust and has some of the rarest agricultural breeds at
his Cotswold Farm Park which attracts over 70,000 visitors a
year.

The ‘Securing the Future of Farming’ event is free to attend and
is being held at Sandy Park, Exeter on Tuesday, 29th March 2011 and
at St Mellion Golf and Leisure Club on Thursday 5th May 2011,
starting at 10am and finishing at 1pm with a buffet lunch included.
To book a place at the event, contact the Business Link events team
at Peninsula Enterprise on 0845 600 9966 or email
enquiries@blpeninsula.co.uk.

All initial press enquiries should be addressed to:

Ron Dyson – 01308 485707; or David Wilford – 01672 564 529 /
07790 774 284

Issued on behalf of Business Link’s Rural Service by The Aurora
Partnership

Notes to Editors:

Business Link’s Rural Business Support Services

Delivered by a dedicated network of Project Officers, Advisers
and approved independent consultants, these comprise a range of
support activities including:

Independent and Impartial Business Advice – Business Link’s
rural advisers will spend time with businesses to review their
current position and discuss proposals for developing the business.
They will work with the business as proposals develop finding
appropriate support to deliver the help that is needed.

Grant Funding and Brokerage – Business Link is the main access
point to advice, information and support through the RDPE in the
South West. Applicants for funding can be put in touch with
professional support services to help develop firm proposals.

R4F – Free professional advice on how best to manage on farm
resources, such as energy, water, air and non-organic wastes (e.g.
plastics), more efficiently.

RDPE

The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) runs from
2007 to 2013. It is the 2nd pillar of the Common Agricultural
Policy and aims to support the creation of genuinely sustainable
farming, forestry and food sectors, whilst also bringing wider
benefits for the economy, the environment and rural communities. It
provides the major financial vehicle for protecting and enhancing
the environment and securing a range of public benefits for
society. Defra is the Managing Authority.

The RDPE has three priorities for rural development:

1. Improving competitiveness of the agriculture and forestry
sectors

2. Improving the environment and the countryside

3. Improving the quality of life in rural areas and encouraging
diversification of economic activity

In this region, the South West of England Regional Development
Agency (RDA) will deliver priorities 1and 3 with a budget of £156.8
million over the seven years. The RDA is also responsible for
ensuring that five per cent of the RDPE funding is spent on
enabling community involvement in rural development. The delivery
partners in the South West aim to ensure that investment in each of
the three priorities will help support investment in the
others.

The RDPE priority for improving the environment and the
countryside is being delivered nationally by the Forestry
Commission’s Woodland Grant Scheme and Natural England’s
Environmental Stewardship Scheme. In addition, a minimum of 5% of
the programme will be delivered through a local community-led
approach.

The aims, objectives and priorities for delivering RDPE in South
West England were agreed for the socio-economic investments with
regional partners and these are set out in the Regional
Implementation Plan. On the basis of a thorough analysis of South
West England’s rural characteristics and economy, the Plan sets out
eight themes:

i. Skills development
ii. Social enterprise
iii. Business support
iv. Supply chain and adding value
v. Resource management (soil, water, energy, waste)
vi. Sustainable rural tourism
vii. Biodiversity and landscape
viii. Community-led development

Organisations involved in delivering RDPE

The South West RDA leads the development of a sustainable
economy, investing to unlock the region’s business potential. It
works in partnership with public, private and social purpose
organisations to drive up the region’s productivity by giving
people the skills they need, encouraging enterprise, improving
infrastructure, regenerating places and promoting the strengths of
the region. For more information see www.southwestrda.org.uk

Natural England works for people, places and nature to conserve
and enhance biodiversity, landscapes and wildlife in rural, urban,
coastal and marine areas. It conserves and enhances the natural
environment for its intrinsic value, the wellbeing and enjoyment of
people, and the economic prosperity it brings. For more information
see www.naturalengland.org.uk

Environmental Stewardship (ES) was launched in 2005, builds on
the very best practice already evident in British farming. During
the period 2007-13 the national budget for ES will be £2.9 billion.
The objectives of ES are to: Conserve wildlife (biodiversity)
Maintain and enhance landscape quality and character Protect the
historic environment and natural resources Promote public access
and understanding of the countryside Natural resource
protection.

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible
for forestry in Great Britain. It supports woodland owners with
grants, tree felling licences, regulation and advice; promotes the
benefits of forests and forestry; and advises Government on
forestry policy. For further information, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/southwestengland