Farmers Can Be Part Of The Solution To Help Bees, Pollinators And The Environment After Brexit

Now that the UK will be leaving the EU, there is some concern about what this will mean for farming and especially regulation and government grants.

However, from what I have seen, there are plenty of farmers eager to do their bit for the environment. 

I previously wrote about this article by Agromenes.  You can download the article here (can be a bit slow).

He says:

"The fertility of almost all our soil is in serious decline.  Decades of relatively cheap nitrates, over-use of insecticides and widespread monoculture have left most of England significantly less fertile.......Only as the evidence mounts have leading farmers begun to be concerned......We're going to have to ask farmers to spend money and time on better husbandry.."

article about farming

There Are Farmers Who Want To Help The Environment....

2 further letters to The Times also support this idea.  One of them comments:

"As farmers we recognise that any future farm policy must be focused on delivering greater tangible environmental benefit to the taxpayer while allowing the agricultural sector to be competitive".

The Times article

Indeed, I previously posted this picture of a pollinator margin in Norfolk, England. 

a pollinator margin on arable farmland

The photograph does not do it justice, and the picture was taken late in the season.   There is plenty of hedgerow and trees to one side of the field.  I think it demonstrates that there are farmers out there, who care about pollinators and the environment.

What else can we do to support farmers?

  • Agrochemicals are very expensive – and a large part of that expenditure is insecticides.  Yet farmers do not have independent information regarding pest infestation levels, such that research has shown they have tended to apply insecticides unnecessarily. 
  • Personally, I’m in favour of farmers continuing to receive financial support from the tax payer, provided that their activities truly help to enhance the environment for wildlife, by reducing chemicals, planting more trees and hedgerows, and quality pollinator margins like the one above.
  • Ensure the regulations for agrochemicals are toughened.  Ultimately, it is not good for farmers to allow the soil fertility and beneficial organisms to be harmed.  Most invertebrates are actually beneficial to farmers, and provide a vital role in the eco-system.
  • To quote Professor Dave Goulson:

"Like Brexit or not, it provides a golden opportunity, freeing British farming from the Common Agricultural Policy, and making it possible to steer it away from industrial, chemical farming towards more sustainable methods. If we do not, we will lose bees and much else of our wildlife for ever. "   - Professor Dave Goulson, author of A Buzz In the Meadow and Bumblebee Behaviour and Ecology

Let's just hope we can take advantage of the opportunity before us, and work with farmers to create positive change.

John Lewis-Stempel

A review of this beautiful nature diary

John Lewis-Stempel

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leafcutter bee on sweet pea plant sweet peas for bees