Published Tuesday, 23rd October 2012 in SAC Consulting news
A farm walk planned by SAC Consulting for Fettercairn on 13th November will focus on meeting ever tightening green targets.
The environmental rules governing what farmers must do to qualify for EU payments and avoid prosecution can be complicated. However there are ways to meet those targets, add wildlife habitats and still maximise food production. The free farm walk offers farmers a chance to see and discuss a range of options that suite local conditions.
Organised by SAC Consulting, a Division of SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) the event begins with lunch in Fettercairn Village Hall and goes on to nearby Moss-side of Esslie Farm on the edge of the Howe of the Mearns where the farm walk will take place, courtesy of D & D Ruxton.
Stonehaven based SAC Consultant Stacey Hamilton has organised the event, is aware of the challenge facing farmers around the world to double food production within a generation. However that must be done on fewer resources and sustainable management of the wider environment supported by the increasing demands of regulatory agencies.
“Farmers can be penalised for polluting water courses with slurry, pesticides or even soil run off, but its important to realise that many of the solutions to this can deliver additional benefits in improved wildlife habitats. We will focus on the simple things most farmers can do which offer win wins for them and a variety of species.”
Stacy Hamilton believes that by thinking ahead and establishing environmental features now, a farm business can gain the benefits and avoid forced changes in the future.
Moss-side of Esslie is a typical mixed arable farm representative of farms within the wider area. Farmers in Angus and the Mearns, lying within priority catchment areas, are well aware of the issues raised in recent years by Scotland’s environmental watchdog SEPA. They know that over time the monitoring of water courses will increase.
Paul Chapman, Conservation specialist with SAC Consulting will lead discussions on the funding opportunities offered through the Land Managers Options scheme. There will be explanation of the “the cross-compliance rules” that must be met if farmers are to receive their single farm payment. The walk will also look at ways to benefit farmland wildlife through management of field margins and hedgerows, as well as protecting water quality under the environmental regulations now in place.
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