Engaging with Farmers

Working with farmers to identify and seek to resolve challenges around land and water use has been one of the Trust’s core activities from its earliest days.

Our initial work focused on diffuse pollution and water resilience on farms but our scope has grown to encompase the entire farming landscape. This includes pursuit of emerging opportunities for farmers around sustainable food production, landscape recovery, nature based solutions and new funding sources including private investment.

What’s been achieved so far…

The formation of the Thame Catchment Farm Cluster. RTCT was key in bringing together two existing farmer clusters to form a single catchment-wide farm cluster. We have an ongoing facilitation role with the new cluster which itself continues to grow in both size and ambition. Farm clusters are a recognised model of voluntary cross-farm collaboration which benefit through knowledge exchange and pursuit of landscape-scale projects across farm boundaries.

Thame Catchment Farm Cluster

Barn owl boxes

More than a dozen barn owl boxes have been erected on farms along the floodplains in partnership with Bucks Owl and Raptor Group (BORG).

Water Quality

Nitrate and phosphate testing kits have been provided to farmers so they can better understand the water quality on their land.

Tree Planting

Dozens of native Black poplars have been planted to enhance the local stock and diversity of this rare native tree associated with rivers and floodplains.

Thame & Chilterns Farmers Forum

Hosted in March 2022 by River Thame Conservation Trust, the event brought together farmers and land managers of four farmer clusters (Thame Valley, Lower Thame, Central Chilterns, and Christmas Common) covering over 20,000 ha across 75 farms.

Thank you to the Environment Agency and Rothschild Foundation for supporting the RTCT farmer engagement work over the last few years.

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