Calling all members

With 18 months of a three year facilitation fund already under our belts, it is time to assess where we have come from and, more importantly, look to the future. For that reason, we are inviting all members to attend a facilitated workshop on 6th June to discuss in which direction the group should travel.

At the recent event at Holkham Hall, more than half of the group turned up to listen to James Beamish and Dominic Swan talk about how Catalyst Farming had brought four farms together to share knowledge, ideas, data and resources. At the event, it was repeatedly stressed that a group or collaborative approach gave power to farmers. This is what we believe the NNCG does for its members.

Over the past 18 months, we have seen the NNCG become a recognised force in the farming world. As a collective voice for farming in the area, we are a strong entity and that is something that will benefit all members. It is now up to the group to decide how to both use that power and develop it further.

That is why we really hope to see as many members as possible at the workshop on 6 June. The venue and times will be circulated in the coming weeks but if you have any ideas in the meantime, please do share them with Sarah, Charlie or David so we can ensure they are part of the discussions on 6th June.

Cultivated margins webinar

The UEA Biodiversity Audit (Phase 1 & 2) highlighted the importance of cultivated margins for biodiversity uplift across our farmed landscape. On Thursday 22nd February, Emily Swan of Natural England will be discussing the most effective ways of managing cultivated margins for the health of the land and nature.
Emily is well known as an expert – and passionate advocate – for cultivated margins, so this is a great opportunity to ask questions and initiate discussions. The meeting will be via Zoom from 6.30-8pm. The link to join the meeting is here.

Rocking the farm-school link

A class of 20 very excited seven year olds descended on Manor Farm, East Winch on Tuesday 13th February as the first of a series of visits by pupils from Watlington Primary School.

The Year 3 pupils are studying rocks and soil as part of the national curriculum so, to meet the curriculum requirements, the visit involved a walk and talk around the farm looking in particular at quarries. The pupils saw how a cycle of quarrying for sand and carr stone would work within a farming system. In this case, a field would be taken out of production, quarried for several years for carrstone and silica sand before being either filled (landfill) and then sown with wild flower mixes or allowed to fill with water as a nature reserve.

Other visits planned include topics such as life cycles, how plants grow and seasonal changes – each topic fitting into the national curriculum. The school farm link is supported by the Lugden Hill Charity. For more information on the school-farm link or the charity, please speak to Sarah Juggins or Penny Oakes, who is a trustee of the charity.

Date for the diary- Autumn Conference

Following the huge success of the Autumn Conference at Sandringham in September 2023, we are holding a similar event this year. The NNCG Autumn Conference will take place on Friday 20 September (venue tbc). We are already in the process of booking a host of relevant speakers to offer thought-leading.provocative and informative sessions.

Baseline survey for UEA research

Jessica Chapman has been a regular at NNCG events recently as she has been collecting data for her PhD research into exploring themes of risk perceptions, trust dynamics and social influences among farmers.

The survey below is the first part of a baseline audit into farmers’ perceptions on soil carbon. This survey has been approved by the UEA Ethics Committee and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Survey Link:  

By submitting answers to the survey, you are consenting to take part in the research. All responses are anonymous, so please be as honest as you like.

Jessica is in need of as many NNCG respondents as possible as the higher the response rate, the more she will be able to reliably analyse results.

Please complete the survey as soon as possible – closing date 04 March 2024

Jess Chapman’s plan is to statistically analyse and organise the results into a one-page summary briefing/report that will be sent to DEFRA (findings shared with NNCG)

By submitting answers, NNCG are massively helping form a much-needed, valuable social science evidence base on Norfolk farmers (within and across cluster groups) perceptions on soil carbon (a hot topic at the moment!). By contributing, the NNCG is its collective voice, experience, needs and opinions on soil carbon practices better understood and highlighted to influence government.