Key information shared at Farm Update North events

In early March, three Farm Update North events were held in Darlington, at Cockle Park Farm near Morpeth and Hexham, bringing together key environmental organisations and farmers. Well over a hundred delegates attended these events.

The CLA, working with Northumbrian Water and other partners such as the NFU, Defra, Natural England, the Environment Agency, and the Forestry Commission, organised the events to focus on a variety of essential policy and funding updates. The programme included speakers from most of the organisers, as well as Susan Mackirdy from Northumbrian Water.

Key points raised at these meetings included:

Farmers present welcomed the increased payment rates under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) and the further role out of Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) standards, however it was clear that delegates still felt confused and overwhelmed at the various different schemes, how they interact and the different areas of grant funding available.

Stakeholders who presented stressed the level of free support and advice that is available to farmers and landowners, core to their objectives is ensuring famers and members are successful in applying for the funding and support available to them.

CLA members Robert Childerhouse (Mulgrave Estate), former CLA president Mark Bridgeman (Falloden Estate) and Northumberland farmer Simon Bainbridge joined in on panel discussions. CLA Director North Lucinda Douglas chaired respective events at Darlington Auction Mart and Cockle Park farm near Morpeth.

CLA Director North Lucinda Douglas said: “It was fantastic to see so many farmers and landowners represented at these events which provided key updates from a variety of agencies, including Northumbrian Water. This was especially informative given the number of farming policy and funding announcements made since the beginning of this year, however the challenge is now successfully getting the money out the door and on farm.”

Post-event feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and we are already looking forward to next year’s updates.