©RAU

A forum led by the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) and the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) to support farmer-led initiatives and fresh thinking on policy issues welcomed representatives from over a dozen organisations.

CCRI’s Julie Ingram and Jane Mills facilitated at the event, which was attended  by representatives from Natural England, Innovative Farmers (Soil Association), the Scottish Government Rural Network Support Unit, Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS), Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), ADAS, Linking Environment & Farming (LEAF), Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GCWT), Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit, Pasture for Life, Farming Connect, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), DEFRA, Landbridge, Newcastle University, University of Bristol and Exeter University.

The aim was to share best practice, initiate the process of collating policy evidence from a collective input and to set up a ‘recognised’ network of practitioners to further promote and support future policy initiatives in this area.

Lisa Williams van Dijk, Knowledge Exchange Programme Manager at the RAU, said:

“With the UK’s imminent departure from the EU the need for new and diverse approaches to knowledge production and innovation in our sector has never been greater.

“Facilitated farmer-led initiatives play a key role in managing this change. Several of these initiatives are already in operation with farmers working together to increase their adaptability and resilience and maintain their profitability and productiveness throughout this period and in the future.”

CCRI’s Julie Ingram said:

“Our interactive workshop was a great opportunity for many of those involved in these projects from across the UK to meet and exchange their experiences. It revealed that, although approaches differed slightly on how to implement these initiatives, there was clearly a common understanding of the core principles involved. This provided a good platform on which to build future collaboration.”