Chris, with his wife Fiona, owns and manages Nethergill Farm. They are currently building a 180 ha eco-hill farm business with a sustainable added-value meat activity, an educational and field study facility and eco-tourism holiday lets. (www.nethergill.co.uk) He is a Partner in Nethergill Associates, a business management consultancy currently assisting with the conjecturing and management of future farming uncertainties nationally. A former farm tenant and farm manager, he now has thirty years of business management experience, many within the agriculture and allied food industry, of which over thirty years were managing his own businesses. Nethergill Associates has expertise in financial management, marketing and farm business planning. Chris is also a member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and the North Yorkshire Rural Commission.
Anthony runs Quex Park which is a country estate in Kent. The estate grows wheat, oilseed rape, oats, beans, potatoes and maize silage, contract farms and has 60 hectares under environmental schemes. A programme of diversification was also implemented which includes children’s soft play centre, craft village, adventure golf, maize maze, farmshop, restaurant, garden nursery, forest school and paintball as well as events ranging from classic car days to music festivals. He believes passionately that farming and conservation must have a joint approach and it is essential for the future that the public of all ages need to be informed and enthused about the countryside and its importance for food production and wildlife. He has previously been the Kent NFU chairman and been Trustee Board member of the Kent County Agricultural Society.
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.
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.
Patrick is a farmer and conservationist from Westhorpe in Mid-Suffolk. His 533ha family farm is a LEAF Demonstration Farm, an AHDB Strategic Farm and they are past winners of both the Farmers Weekly Countryside Farmer of the Year and FWAG’s Silver Lapwing award. Conservation is integral to the farm, they have a Countryside Stewardship Higher Tier scheme and Patrick’s ethos is to farm in modern, productive ways while having a farm full of wildlife. Patrick is a BTO licensed bird ringer and an area coordinator for the Suffolk Community Barn Owl Project.
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.
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 has Countryside Stewardship schemes on land he rents and manages. He also supports the delivery of Stewardship schemes for a number of other farmers. Martin is the NFFN UK Steering Group Chair and hopes to see the network grow with like-minded farmers and land managers who will work together, sharing best practices and demonstrating what can be accomplished for nature and the environment while producing great produce.
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 is a fourth generation farmer based in the Pewsey Vale farming in partnership with his wife and parents. As well as combinable cropping on around 900 ha there is a 260 cow dairy and a beef enterprise utilising the chalk downland habitat found on the farm.
James is the fifth generation of his family to farm at Strickley, a 300 acre all grassland organic dairy farm near Kendal, south Cumbria. The farm carries 130 Dairy Shorthorn cows plus 120 youngstock, all cattle are homebred and are also a closed high health herd. Strickley has been part of a stewardship scheme since 1991, when a Hedgerow Incentive Scheme was started to improve and protect the farm’s seven miles of ancient hedgerow. Those hedgerows now make fantastic corridors of life, surrounding the 60 small fields which make up the farm and connect ancient woodland with habitat rich becks and also a two-acre pond. Nature plays a big part in the farm’s decisions and everything possible is done to enhance the biodiversity of all the habitats. In 2019 James and his family were awarded The Tye Trophy farming & conservation award from the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. The farm is currently in HLS and also a mid-tier scheme. Local schools benefit from free visits to Strickley and enjoy pond dipping, hedgerow safaris and learning about dairy production, among other things. James is also keen to learn from outside organisations and works closely with The Cumbria Wildlife Trust and South Cumbria Rivers Trust and hopes to build on these relationships for the benefit of everyone.