Farm profitability ‘essential’ to make meaningful environmental gains, conservationist tells Suffolk farmers

Post Brexit Farming Conference at Trinity Park, Ipswich. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Post Brexit Farming Conference at Trinity Park, Ipswich. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Farm profitability is “crucial” if conservation efforts are to be embraced in a post-Brexit world, a leading conservationist told a conference in Ipswich this week.

Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) biodiversity adviser Peter Thompson told delegates at a Suffolk Agricultural Association and the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) Brexit event at Ipswich that three quarters of the countryside was farmland, and “we need to keep farmers farming” to achieve environmental gains.

“Farmers are the people who are going to put that conservation into practice,” he said.

He described his involvement in creating “farmer clusters” across the countryside which were working together to help the environment on a landscape scale with the help of Natural England grants. “Farmers get it instantly and they actually quite enjoyed coming together,” he said.

But it was now necessary to start gathering the proof that wildlife gains had been made, he said.

Post Brexit Farming Conference at Trinity Park, Ipswich. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Post Brexit Farming Conference at Trinity Park, Ipswich. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“We have got to prove that what we are doing works,” he told delegates gathered at a conference on farming, Brexit and the environment held at Trinity Park on Wednesday, November 15.