Farming for the Future on Llŷn
Our natural environment is under ever increasing pressures so we're working closely with our tenants to try a new approach that helps redress the balance.
What’s happened in the past?
One commonly used method of encouraging farmers and land managers to sustain and increase wildlife has been through government funded agri-environmental schemes. These schemes pay farmers to undertake specific actions for habitats and historic features on their farms. They can be quite prescriptive and inflexible and they have mixed success.
Overall, current agri-environment schemes in Wales have not reversed the declines in wildlife. The general feeling within the farming community is that they are unable to use their knowledge of the land to any great effect and are not empowered to make strides towards helping nature.
A different approach
Greater success has been seen in some of our European neighbouring countries through the adoption of a results or outcome based approach to payments.
This type of scheme offers payments based on the desired outcomes for habitats or species, rather than specific actions, and places the decision making in the hands of the farmer.
Simply speaking, the more that the farmer can offer and achieve, the greater the payment. One scheme which highlights the success of this method more than any is in the Burren in Ireland.
Trialling payments for outcomes
We believe a farmer led initiative has real value in helping us achieve healthy, resilient landscapes that are rich in wildlife.
The Llŷn peninsula, in North West Wales is one of two places (the other being Malham in the Yorkshire Dales) to trial this approach. By working with our tenants to develop a payment for outcome model we aim to help inform the future policy of farming support in the Welsh and UK government.
The ‘outcome’ on Llŷn
Here we’ll be focussing on how we can get the coastal slopes and heathland habitats into better shape within the Llyn Special Area of Conservation. We want to see the neighbouring fields more flower-rich and attractive to insects and birds, with a softer transition to productive, sustainably managed land that helps support the farming system.
We are excited by the opportunity to begin this journey with our tenants towards habitat gains, but also to look at opportunities to strengthen the farm business through diversification and sound business planning.
The scheme started in 2018 and will run for 3 years, by which time it is expected we will be well on our way to helping nature recover.