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2021 - A Year in Review

There is much that can be said about this year, and whilst we end it once again with some uncertainty, we can reflect on a strong performance by NFFN against a continued challenging backdrop.

The network has grown and developed; welcoming new members across all four nations, new members of staff and increased levels of support for our mission and our work. We have promoted nature-friendly farming in policy and practice, sharing our knowledge and vision with key stakeholders and ensuring that those making decisions on our farming future know that we are watching closely and will judge whether they deliver on their promises.

From consultation responses, committee inquiries, debates, briefings, and meetings, and more, NFFN has pushed our agenda wherever possible, and we are delighted that nature-friendly farming is increasingly becoming an accepted turn of phrase in Westminster and Whitehall, as well in the devolved administrations. We have invited and met with Ministers, Cabinet Secretaries and decision makers on our farms to see for themselves the positive changes that can be made, with the right support.

We were proud to see MPs and Lords in the Houses of Parliament mention nature-friendly farming repeatedly, alongside specific amendments on this, during debates on the Agriculture Bill (now Act) and on other occasions. Whilst many amendments were unsuccessful – and we remain disappointed that Parliamentarians did not use these, and subsequent, opportunities to enshrine high environmental and welfare standards in law – we have shifted the dial in these discussions and educated many on the importance of our work.

We have spoken up at events, both online and in-person; including attending COP26 in Glasgow, and we continue to work with organisations across the sector, and with an increasing number of government departments, to help develop policy in this area, including with ELMs, SFI, food labelling, soils, water, climate mitigation, to name but a few!

2022 will be a pivotal year for farmers and vital for our work. We end this year stronger than we started it and hungry for the opportunities that the new year presents. To this end, we have committed more resources and will be increasing the amount of activity we do in this space, with the aim of achieving even more – watch out for announcements!

Written by Robert Lingard, NFFN Parliamentary Liaison