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What is the Nature
Friendly Farming

About the Nature Friendly Farming Network

  • The Nature Friendly Farming Network is led by farmers across the UK with a passion for sustainable farming and nature
  • We seek to unite farmers across the UK who have a sustainable outlook
  • We seek to secure positive changes in policy, including how farming is supported by the public
  • Together we can achieve more and learn from each
  • To see our policy position please click here

Our Steering Group

Martin Lines NFFN UK Chair

Martin is a farmer and contractor in South Cambridgeshire, growing mainly arable crops on his family farm and rented land. He has a special interest in farm conservation management, currently running an ELS and HLS agreement and applied for Countryside Stewardship schemes on land he rents. He also supports the delivery of Stewardship Schemes for a number of other farmers. Martin is the chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network.

Jon Andrews NFFN England Chair

Jon Andrews runs his family 300 acre mixed livestock and arable farm in South Devon, farmed organic grassland and conventional arable. He has been involved in CSS and HLS for 18 years and is passionate about nature friendly farming.

David Corrie-Close NFFN England Vice Chair

David is relatively new to farming and is now a savvy stockman, passionate about land management. The Horned Beef Company is pioneering a new approach to the management of marginal land in Cumbria making farming and nature work together.

Neil Heseltine - England

Neil was born and brought up at Hill Top Farm, Malham in North Yorkshire, where he now farms with his partner Leigh. In 2003, as part of a conservation grazing scheme he re-introduced 20 Belted Galloway cattle to join the Swaledale sheep flock. This proved to be a defining time for Neil in terms of ethos and mind-set, as he sought more sustainable and environmentally friendly production methods.

Sorcha Lewis - Wales

Sorcha lives in the beautiful Elan Valley in Mid Wales where she farms with her husband and 2 children on an upland hill farm. She is passionate about promoting how amazing our uplands can be, the variety of wildlife that depend upon them and the people that help maintain them.

Hazel Mackenzie - Scotland

Hazel was born and bred in Shetland and along with her husband, Kenneth, runs the croft in Aithsetter, Cunningsburgh. Aithsetter was in an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) for 10 years and is now in an Agri Environment Climate Scheme (AECS). Hazel is passionate about making sure that the wildlife, flora & fauna that she grew up enjoying, remains there for future generations. Being a previous President of Shetland's National Farmer Union of Scotland (NFUS) and Chairperson of Shetland Crofting & Farming, Wildlife Advisory Group (SC FWAG) plus working for 8 years as operations coordinator for Shetland Livestock Marketing Group (SLMG) shows how committed she is to agriculture. The couple are also on the committee of the Cunningsburgh & Districts Agricultural Society - which runs the annual show. Part of the holding's heather moorland was a runner up in the 2015 Heather Trust's Golden Plover Award for Moorland Management (Shetland Peatland Restoration Project) - which is an ongoing management The couple diversified in 2012, slightly, by building 2 holiday lodges on their croft and in June 2017 by building Britain's most northerly Farm Shop & Cafe.

Martin Hole - England

Martin farms with his family at Montague on the western edge of the Pevensey Levels in East Sussex. Two thirds of the land falls across grazing marshes, managed to restore wetlands for nesting Lapwing and Redshank and a complex of damp and herb rich organic pasture. He looks after a flock of some 850 Romney ewes and a mixed breed beef herd of Sussex and Angus cattle.

John Carson NFFN Northern Ireland Chair

Ballyrenan Farm is situated 30 miles east of Belfast in County Down, Northern Ireland. John farms in partnership with my son Jonathan. The farm has been Organic for 11 years. Suckler Cows, Beef Cattle and Cereals are the main enterprises. Bird Cover is grown annually. The farm is farmed under an Environmental Scheme. He sits on the Board of the Soil Association and Chair Organic NI. John also works closely with the Department of Agriculture and sit on several Stakeholder groups.

Tony Davies NFFN Wales Chair

Tony is a fifth-generation tenant farmer on a 680ha farm in Mid Wales, over 80% of the land has SSSI status. The farm management focuses on environmental improvements with Organic, Glastir Advanced and Woodland Creation agreements. The range of diverse habitats are managed by a flock of Welsh Mountain sheep. He produces biochar and charcoal on the farm.’ Tony is an optimist, not afraid of change and always willing to adapt.

Gethin Owen - Wales

Gethin Owen farms 110ha at Nant-yr-Efail near Abergele on the North Wales coast with his family, and is a former regional winner of the RSPB Nature of Farming award. He farms 35 suckler cows and 650 ewes, and also grows spring oats and barley, forage peas, swedes and red clover. The farm is run following traditional principles of variety in space & time and being as self-sufficient as possible to reduce input costs. The farm has been within the Glastir Advanced and Tir Gofal agri-environment schemes since 2008, and has resulted in significant environmental improvement & habitat creation, including several kilometres of hedgerow planting and restoration and provision of overwintered stubbles for many species of seed-eating birds. Gethin is passionate about creating a home for wildlife, and demonstrating that this can be mutually beneficial in its co-existence with productive and sustainable agriculture.

Michael Clarke NFFN Scotland Chair

During a professional career as the senior land manager for two of the UK’s largest landowners, Michael began part-time farming and realised a lifelong ambition to farm full-time when he and his wife Shirley moved to Williamwood in Dumfriesshire in 2008. They breed beef cattle and sheep and operate a busy holiday cottage business. Shirley breeds and shows Highland ponies. With 4 children between them, only one son remains on the farm and works principally as an agricultural contractor and livestock haulage driver. Past Scotland winners of the RSPB’s Nature of Farming Award, they enjoy community engagement and demonstrating how nature-friendly farming and food production can go hand-in-hand.

Patrick Barker - England

Patrick Barker is a farmer and conservationist from Westhorpe in Mid-Suffolk. His 513ha family farm is a LEAF Demonstration Farm, an AHDB Strategic Farm and past winners of both the Farmers Weekly Countryside Farmer of the Year and FWAG’s Silver Lapwing award. Conservation is integral on the farm and the farm’s ethos is to farm is the most modern, productive ways but also have a farm full of wildlife. Patrick is a BTO licensed bird ringer and an area coordinator for the Suffolk Community Barn Owl Project. He also runs Westhorpe Hall, a 21 bed residential care home situated on the farm.

Lynn Cassells - NFFN Scotland Vice Chair

Lynbreck Croft is 150 acres of pure ‘scottishness’ located on the lee side of the Cairngorms Massif. Lynn thinks nature friendly farming is the only way that farming can work. She spent the last two years planning, raising funds and developing their diversified croft business. At present the croft has six Highland Cattle, five Jacob Sheep, 23 hens, two hives of bees and three Oxford Sandy and Black pigs. They have deliberately started small with big plans to grow over the years

Colin Strang-Steel - Scotland

In 1991, chartered surveyor Colin Strang Steel and his wife acquired Threepwood, a livestock farm of 423 hectares (1045 acres) situated in the heart of the Scottish Borders near Lauder. The farm lies between 850 and 1020 feet above sea level, and although it is entirely enclosed it is all classified as Less Favoured Area status. Within the farm lies Threepwood Moss, a raised bog of about 100 acres, which is classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as well as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Polly Davies - Wales

Polly is a mixed organic tenant farmer in South Wales, with a large range of agri- environmental management options undertaken, due to the Glastir Advanced contract with the Welsh Government. The farm enterprises include a beef suckler herd, 600 Romney Ewes & 80ha of organic cereals in rotation, including Spelt, Spring Wheat, Spring Barley, Spring Oats & Spring Beans. There is also a small number of Gloucester old spot pigs to supply the small farm butchery and meat box delivery business. Polly is passionate about increasing the farm yields both in ecology and improved organic agronomy, so the environmental management options are not a fringe to the farming enterprise but embedded within the whole farming system.

David Sandford - NI

David is an arable farmer, passionate about the environment & grey partridge. He was the Purdey Gold Award Winner 2016 and Northern Ireland Wildlife Farmer of the Year 2015. David is also a committee member of the management body for the Strangford and Lecale AONB and advisory member for the Strangford Lough Marine Protected Area.

Philip Bell - NI

Philip owns a small lowland 35 acre farm outside Ballynahinch in County Down. It supports a mixture of deciduous woodland, wild bird cover planted annually and grassland supporting a small suckler livestock herd of native Irish Moiled cattle and commercial British Herefords. Hedgerows are managed to support wildlife habitats and riparian zones are employed as buffers to protect the waterways from poaching.

Jack Kelly - NI

David Lord - England

David manages the farming side of his business on the North East Essex coast, farming approx. 750ha of mixed soils but predominantly heavy London Clay. His farming system revolves around soil conservation and regeneration using cover cropping, diverse rotations and direct drilling to reduce inputs and improve biodiversity on the land he farms. His farm is also in HLS, and neighbours SSSI salt marsh owned by Essex Wildlife Trust, so he sees a lot of interesting bird life and a variety of habitat on the farm. David is a strong supporter of independent science and farmer led decision making. He is currently chairman of Colchester branch NFU, and also a steering group member for the AHDBs Eastern strategic farm.

Charlie Cole - NI

Sam Bonnar - NI

Hilary Kehoe - Wales

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