Farming Connect is coordinating an industry-led initiative to tackle pollution from agriculture head-on in Wales
The Wales Land Management Forum’s sub-group on agricultural pollution – a body incorporating Natural Resources Wales, Welsh Government, Farming Unions and others want an industry commitment to eliminate pollution to reflect high standards in Welsh farming and has launched ‘Reducing Agricultural Pollution’, a campaign co-ordinated by Farming Connect.
Sara Jenkins, Menter a Busnes’ Development Manager, explained that Farming Connect will be heading up a campaign to provide support, advice and guidance to farmers, in order to reduce the number of pollution incidents in Wales.
“The new campaign will focus on supporting farmers to take action to prevent pollution through the improved management of manures, slurries and soils and a reduction in the use of chemicals such as pesticides” she explained.
“In line with the Environment Act (Wales), preventing pollution from agriculture will have significant benefits for farm businesses and the wider community and economy who are reliant on a healthy water environment.’’
Farming Connect funded through the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government has a suite of services available to assist farmers, these services include the advisory service which provides farmers registered with Farming Connect up to 80% funding for Nutrient Management Plans or fully-funded NMP’s as group advice.
Advice is also available on an individual or group basis for slurry and farmyard manure management and storage plans, farm infrastructure including clean-dirty water separation, slurry, manure and silage storage and many more technical aspects.
Other support mechanisms include; a one-to-one mentoring service, where farmers can receive up to 22.5 hours of mentoring from another experienced farmer who has addressed issues and introduced novel solutions on their farm, and planning surgeries, where farmers can access an hours’ worth of advice free of charge from a planning expert.
“I would urge all farmers in Wales to consider their potential impact on the environment and discuss their individual requirements with their local Farming Connect Development Officer, who will be able to guide them to the most appropriate support.”
“Engaging with these services will have significant benefits for farm businesses and the wider community and economy who are reliant on a healthy water environment” said Sara Jenkins.
More specifically, farmers with land around 28 priority watercourses identified by NRW will be encouraged to engage with a programme of support through Farming Connect to make improvements to freshwater quality over the coming months.
The initiative will link in with best practice projects already underway at Farming Connect Innovation Sites, Demonstration Farms and Focus Sites; these include techniques for producing, storing and feeding silage and dealing with effluent in the dairy unit at Gelli Aur Innovation Site and improving field drainage at Tyreglwys Demonstration Farm to reduce poaching from cattle and improve soil structure.
If you require further information about how to improve water quality you are encouraged to contact the Farming Connect Service Centre on 08456 000 813 or visit www.gov.wales/farmingconnect to find contact details for your local Development Officer, who will be able to guide you through the services.