Thursday, January 17, 2019

World Soil Day highlights benefits of healthy farming

January 2, 2019 by  
Filed under Crops

Farmers are being encouraged to use free advice to improve soil health and fertility – while benefiting the environment too.

The importance of soil health for productive farming and a healthy environment was highlighted by Defra on World Soil Day, a United Nations initiative on 5 December to highlight the importance of healthy soil and the role it plays in society.

Farmers and land managers should seek free advice from Catchment Sensitive Farming officers on ways to improve soil health, said Defra minister Therese Coffey. Soil was an important asset which could help deliver many environmental benefits, she added.

Soil-based initiatives are expected to be at the heart of the government’s new Environmental Land Management (ELMs) scheme – which will reward farmers for environmental measures as direct payments are phased out after Brexit.

Ms Coffey said: “Initiatives such as World Soil Day are vital in highlighting the environmental benefits that soil provides for us all. As we leave the EU, we have the opportunity to reward farmers for the outcomes they provide by protecting this essential global resource.”

Farmers and land managers could take advantage of the free advice, training and events run through the Catchment Sensitive Farming initiative, said Ms Coffey. This includes advice on improving soil health, making better use of farm resources and protecting the environment.

Many farmers and land managers were already signed up to countryside stewardship and environmental stewardship schemes to deliver benefits for nature – including better management of soil, Ms Coffey added.

The next application window for Countryside Stewardship is expected to open in early 2019. It is due to include a number of wildlife options for arable, upland, lowland grazing and mixed farmers – all available online.

For details about Catchment Sensitive Farming, visit www.bit.ly/SoilFriendlyFarming

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