Agri Working Group
The Environment Agency and water companies – principally Anglian Water – are the obvious main players in the water sector within the catchment, but we are very aware of the major role the agricultural sector has on our water environment.
Collectively, farmers and landowners manage the majority of the land area within the catchment and have the potential to contribute significantly to improve its water environment. While arable farming occupies large swathes of the catchment, horticulture and livestock farming are also well represented.
Get involved with the working group
UBOCP on-farm event. Demonstrating the herbal ley direct Simtech Drill – unique design based on NZ technology which offers a greater window for drilling and the hopper has the capacity to cope with varying seed mixes.
The UBOCP Agri Working Group is hosted by Anglian Water and the EA and includes partner organisations such as the NFU, Catchment Sensitive Farming and the Forestry Commission.
The initial objectives that the group is working to are:
- Partner organisations to gain a better understanding of where each other work and what services are offered. This will eliminate duplication, promote partnership working and reduce visits/ messages etc to farmers.
- Partner organisations to contribute towards mapping of priorities, activities and events. This will identify priority areas, target areas and promote partnership working.
- Increase engagement with farmers and land managers, demonstrating the benefits of partnership working through enhanced communications and joint projects.
Longer term objectives for the group include:
- Encourage and where appropriate, facilitate the establishment of Farm Clusters.
- Plan and deliver annual programme of events and activities, including having a presence at major agri sector gatherings.
- Become trusted source of information and guidance for the agri sector within the catchment.
UBOCP Cover Crop event. NIAB (National Institute of Agricultural Botany) reporting on research into the Nitrogen Use Efficiency of cover crops. Building nitrogen in soils to reduce artificial applications of nitrogen reducing leaching of nutrients and pollution risk.
Over the last year the group has organised one Farm Business Resilience conference and 3 farmer-facing workshops.
The Farm Business Resilience event included the following presentations:
- Richard Heady – Buckinghamshire Farmer Mixed farming, looking after the environment and promoting it all to the general public on social media. Knowledge transfer opportunities for farmers.
- Tristan Baxter Smith – Nene Rivers Trust Natural Flood Management measures implemented on farm.
- Angus Gowthorpe - Yorkshire Farmer FW Environmental Champion of the year 2022. Regenerative agriculture, mixed farming and putting soil health and biodiversity at the heart of a farming system.
- Veronica Zwetsloot & Alan Jones – Environment Agency An update on the latest Farming Rules for Water requirements and looking at benefits of Materials to Land.
The 3 workshops were:
- Cover Crops - Building Resilient Farming Systems Using Cover Crops as a Method to Improve Nutrient Use Efficiency
- Herbal Leys - Building Resilient Farming Systems Using Herbal Leys
- Farm Clusters - How they can work for you
We are currently planning a programme of workshops and events for the year ahead – look out for more information.