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The South West shifts to regenerative agriculture

  • by JW

“Developing nature-friendly alternatives to intensive farming practices.”

“Working with natural systems to restore and enhance biodiversity, minimise soil disturbance and rebuild organic matter.”


Today’s WMN carries a supplement on farming in the West Country – as well as further pieces on the future of farming and climate change:

Prince Charles was out and about championing farming with nature and visiting an organic farm in Cornwall yesterday…

Prince Charles reinforced his powerful backing for farming in tune with nature yesterday on a visit to an organic farm in Cornwall. The Prince of Wales said humanity had “lived off nature’s capital, without understanding we need to live off her income” in a speech that underscored his long held green beliefs.

Charles visited Trefranck Farm, near Launceston, which was hosting the 10th anniversary of the Innovative Farmers initiative. Founded by charity the Soil Association, of which Prince Charles is a patron, it is a network of producers developing nature-friendly alternatives to intensive farming practices.

The Prince met with farmers switching to ‘herbal leys’ – a mix of clover, grasses and wildflowers for grazing – and breeding sheep resistant to gut parasites. In a speech he said man had “over-exploited nature for too long”. He went on: “We need to make sure whatever little profit we make, there is a bit of profit for nature at the same time.”

Western Morning News –

With more here:

Prince Charles praises ‘remarkable’ Innovative Farmers – Farmers Weekly

Meanwhile, the WMN’s farming correspondent reports on her journeys across the region:

Today our farming editor Athwenna Irons reports in her 12-page farming supplement how one Dartmoor farmer is embracing farm’s wild ways to aid biodiversity… 

During my time working at the Western Morning News, I have had the privilege of meeting farmers, food producers and land managers from across the region and sharing their stories with you. Over the last nine years, I’ve visited scores of dynamic dairies, first-rate flocks and valiant vegetable enterprises, plus many more. Clocking up thousands of miles, I’ve still only seen first-hand a tiny fraction of the businesses that form the bedrock of our rural economy in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset. To say farming in the South West is diverse would be something of an understatement. 

Crucially, farmers are proud to embrace their role as custodians of the countryside, and are well practiced at balancing its needs while producing safe, affordable, traceable food. It is something they have done for centuries and will continue to do long into the future.  And there is growing momentum behind a shift to ‘regenerative’ agriculture, broadly referred to as an approach that seeks to work with natural systems to restore and enhance biodiversity, minimise soil disturbance and rebuild organic matter, thereby increasing their carbon sequestering and water holding capacity. 

Farming – Devon Live

Finally, the Duke of Cornwall is concerned about the bigger picture:

Prince Charles made a passionate speech about climate change during the heatwave in Cornwall this week. Tony Jones reports…

The Prince of Wales said tackling climate change is “utterly essential” as the country swelters in “alarming” temperatures. While speaking at an open-air event to mark his 70 years as Duke of Cornwall, Charles said national commitments to reach net zero have “never been more vitally important”.

Prince of Wales says tackling climate change is ‘utterly essential’ | County Press

As reported elsewhere:

Prince Charles cracks jokes as he delivers climate change speech in sweltering Cornwall – Cornwall Live

Prince Charles: ‘Record temperatures’ prove I’m right about climate change

Prince Charles warns of emergency as weather stops trains and melts runways | News | The Times

Prince of Wales says tackling climate change is ‘utterly essential’ | The Independent