Find out how you can form a farmer cluster.
Farmers and land managers do a lot for Britain’s rural environment, but there is only so much that an individual, acting in isolation, can achieve on their own. By working together, helped by an advisor or ‘facilitator’, farmers and land managers can work more cohesively together in their locality. This enables them to collectively deliver greater benefits for soil, water and wildlife at a landscape scale.
There are lots of different approaches to landscape scale conservation, but farmer clusters are designed to start life at the farmer level, under the guidance of a lead farmer and a trusted conservation advisor. The work is often supplemented by existing agri-environment schemes. Several projects have been set up with private sources of funding whereas the majority have applied for the Natural England Facilitation Fund, which opened in 2015.
The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) have been involved with the concept from the very beginning, helping to establish the ground-breaking farmer-led Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area project in 2012, and then the first pilots of ‘farmer clusters’ in partnership with Natural England in 2014. Along with a range of other rural organisations and independent advisors, we provide support and advice to help new and existing groups, and we held the first Farmer Cluster Conference in 2017, out of which this website was a key outcome.
The aim of this website is to provide a resource for farmers, facilitators, advisors and indeed anyone interested in landscape scale conservation projects to find out more and to come together to ask questions and share knowledge. Please check out the case studies and guidance, read the blogs, sign up for the newsletter and let us know what you think!
Farmer Cluster Locations
Blue: established 2017
Yellow: established 2016
Red: established 2015
Green: Northern Flood Management Groups