Catchment Sensitive Farming in the Thame Catchment

June 30, 2022

Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) is led by Natural England, in partnership with Defra and the Environment Agency. It works with farmers, communities and organisations in river catchments across England to improve the quality of air, water and flood management through training and grant support. In particular, CSF facilitates the delivery of some Countryside Stewardship items as well as signposts to other sources of available funding, for example woodland creation grants and funding to allow farmers to invest in new technology. CSF also enables farmers to take voluntary action to improve the environmental impact and business sustainability of their farm, through the provision of expert advice.

Our advice is primarily provided through 1-to-1 visits on farms, group training events or workshops and through specialist contracted services, providing audits on farm infrastructure, for example.

Currently, direct payments to farmers are being phased-out and new Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMs) and funds are being introduced, including the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI). This time is termed ‘Agricultural Transition’. We will talk to priority farms about the new schemes and help them make choices that work for their environmental ambitions and farm businesses.

In 2021, the Government committed additional funding to CSF. The funding will enable CSF expansion across the whole of England by April 2023. Currently, not every farm will be eligible for CSF advice; we will focus our support on priority farms that can make the greatest contribution to our environmental objectives, as set out in the 25 Year Environmental Plan. However, our recent expansion has meant that both our coverage within the River Thame catchment area has increased and we are funded to work more collaboratively with stakeholders.

Our primary aims within the River Thame catchment are to reduce detrimental sediment loss, direct pesticide run-off into surface waters and nutrient losses via farming processes. We will be working closely with the River Thame Conservation Trust to achieve these shared aims.

We are pleased to introduce ourselves as the new CSF advisers for the River Thame catchment and look forward to meeting some of you. If you have any queries or would like to make an enquiry about farm advice, please do get in touch with us – Chloe Timberlake (chloe.timberlake@naturalengland.org.uk) or George Tinker (george.tinker@naturalengland.org.uk).

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