CFE - History
From 2009 to 2012 the CFE focused on creating voluntary alternatives to areas of set-aside imposed by statute. In some core arable counties, uptake of key in-field Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) options doubled during the period. Voluntary management of the farmed environment (outside of agri-environment schemes) increased to over 200,000ha. However, site visits highlighted the need to improve management of such areas to achieve maximum environmental benefit. Due to challenging farming conditions, the uncropped land area was not retained.
Overall the first CFE phase has seen farmers and land managers take positive steps towards meeting specific environmental management targets. CFE is now set to build on recognised successes from partnership working with farmers and advisers. From summer 2013, the scope will extend to include the lowland-grassland sector in England. Thus, every farm in England (except those in upland areas) must now play its part to address the broader environmental issues facing the industry. Recent weather challenges, coupled with uncertainty over CAP reform make this a challenging time for the industry. CFE can help farmers and land managers through CAP transition, pre and post 2014/2015, by providing the right tools for building resilient, efficient and environmentally sound farming businesses.