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Landmark report shows significant progress in water quality resulting from trusted face to face advice on farms

30 October 2019

Following advice from the government’s Catchment Sensitive Farming service (CSF), eight in ten farmers have benefitted from advice helping them to make improvements in water quality on their farms, according to a new report published by Natural England. 

As the Environment Bill passes through Parliament, holding Government to account to deliver the 25 Year Environment Plan, it’s timely to look at what works in practice, in the context of farming.

CSF has worked with nearly 20,000 farms – equivalent to 34% of England’s total farmland – since the partnership with Defra, the Environment Agency and Natural England began in 2006. 

The published report evaluating the first 12 years since the partnership began shows participants have documented meaningful reductions in sediment, nutrients and pesticide concentrations.  

The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) – the leading UK trade association representing agricultural supply chain sectors including arable marketing, crop protection, agronomy, feed, fertiliser and seed – have been a supporter and strategic partner with CSF since its introduction. 

Robert Sheasby, Chief Executive at AIC, has welcomed the progress made: “We’re proud to have worked with CSF supporting their vital work and dovetailing the AIC professional advice with the work of the CSF advisers. It is a successful formula which we will be continuing to invest in. There are similar programmes ongoing in Scotland and Northern Ireland with strong results as well. All signs indicate we’ll see more and more quantifiable change for the better, driven by forward-thinking actions like these.” 

Building trust, face to face on-farm advice has proven advantageous to CSF and the farmers they’ve worked with. The results outlined in this report – have been lauded by industry figures as a clear path to collaborative progress. Industry, government partnerships can provide joined up expert advice and guidance, which delivers for the farm business and the environment. 

“The combined message of CSF’s success and the new era defined by the Agriculture and the Environment Bill is clear: the future of farming and the environment requires close industry collaboration and well-funded commitment in order to achieve its ambitions,” adds Robert Sheasby.  

“These developments are reason for great optimism. For our part, AIC will continue to play a key part in progressing UK agriculture in a way that promotes better sustainability and business success.”

ENDS

About AIC

AIC is the UK trade association representing the agricultural supply chain sectors of Arable Marketing, Crop Protection and Agronomy, Feed, Fertiliser and Seeds, since its inception in 2003. In all, AIC represents members responsible for some £9 billion of farm trade. A significant part of its work is political lobbying and influencing as well as supporting members with technical information.

AIC Services, which is the professional services arm of AIC manages a range of services, including Assurance Schemes recognised by UK government as essential tools to underpin feed & food safety alongside fertiliser security.  Currently these include:

TASCC

Trade Assurance Scheme for Combinable Crops

FEMAS

Feed Materials Assurance Scheme

UFAS

Universal Feed Assurance Scheme

ESTA

European Seed Treatment Assurance

FIAS

Fertiliser Industry Assurance Scheme

FAR

Feed Adviser Register

RED

Renewable Energy Directive

FAA

Forage Assurance Scheme

APOCS

AIC Services Palm Oil Credit Scheme