The Tenant Farmers Association’s new South West regional chair, Helen Radmore is passionate about ensuring that future policy for agriculture and the rural environment respects the vital role that active farmers and graziers play in conservation management.
“Too often policy makers think that landscape and biodiversity improvements can be achieved in isolation from agricultural practices and have a bias against working with the farming community in achieving those goals. In fact farmers and graziers are at the heart of these landscapes and ecosystems and have the most to offer in ensuring good conservation management. Policy makers should be harnessing the expertise and practical experience of the farming community and working collaboratively to build new platforms for sustainable environmental management and enhancement,” said Helen.
“Policy makers also need a better understanding of the legal structures that operate within the farming community including tenancies, grazing agreements and the operation of common land registers. Many farmers operate across a range of legal agreements offering them differing levels of rights and occupation and also different levels of responsibility. This needs to be better reflected in the way in which agri environment schemes are drawn up and implemented,” said Helen.
Playing her part in developing this important dialogue between Farmers and policy makers, Helen has run a number of practical workshops for officials from DEFRA, Natural England and the Environment Agency which gets them out into the Dartmoor landscape to learn first hand how good farm management and environmental practice go hand in hand.
“I learn a lot from the Government officials who attend my workshops and the feedback which I receive from them suggests that they do too. We need more of this type of engagement if we are going to find solutions to the joint problems we face as a society to ensure that we have a good, ready supply of wholesome food and a well managed environment in the post Brexit era,” said Helen.