We use cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By using our website we'll assume that you are happy to receive cookies from the LEAF website. Click here to learn how to change your settings and see our privacy policy.

Latest News

Farming and Food Minister, George Eustice MP launches the new LEAF Sustainable Farming Review

BFBCLEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) launched the Sustainable Farming Review, a new management tool for members, yesterday on Monday 1st December. The event was attended by George Eustice MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for farming, food and marine environment, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The LEAF Sustainable Farming Review enables LEAF members to farm more sustainably, providing an annual health check of their businesses and helping them to implement and measure the impacts of Integrated Farm Management (IFM)*.

Read more here

 


 

LEAF Launches 10th Open Farm Sunday

BFBCLord de Mauley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for natural environment and science, joined representatives from across the farming and food industry as they came together yesterday (17th November), to launch LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday 2015 and to celebrate the campaign’s huge success to date.

The event, which was held at the House of Commons, recognised the positive contribution Open Farm Sunday has made over the last nine years in changing public perception and understanding of the farming industry and acknowledged the help of the hundreds of farmers and their helpers who have made it happen.

Read more here

 


 

Speakers at sustainable food and farming conference call for greater diversity for more resilient farming

BFBCGreater diversity in crops, livestock, biodiversity, our markets and diets was the key message and subject of debate at the annual LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) President’s Event on Tuesday 11th November.

A range of speakers including Dr Gordon Jamieson - Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation Director, John Innes Centre, Dr Grant Walling, Director of Science and Technology, JSR Ltd, Fraser McKevitt, Head of Retail and Consumer Insight at Kantar Worldpanel, Caroline Drummond from LEAF as well as LEAF Demonstration Farmers Andrew Francis from Elveden Estate and Patrick Barker from EJ Barker & Sons each spoke about issue of resilience and diversity within the sectors of crops, livestock, biodiversity and in our diets.

Read more here

 

 


Defining Resilience and Diversity in Agriculture

BFBCEnsuring a resilient and diverse agriculture that is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable is amongst the greatest global challenges.

This year’s President’s Event will bring together some of the evidence of the impact of agricultural diversity on productivity, pest and disease control, ecosystem services, nutrition and health. It will also explore the potential to minimise the effects of climate change on farming, specifically relating to crops, livestock, biodiversity, our markets and diets.

Read more here

 

 


 

LEAF pledges its commitment to global food security initiative

BFBCLEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) will formally pledge its commitment to a global food security initiative ‘The Declaration of Abu Dhabi for Global Food Security through Good Agricultural Practices’ at a formal launch event in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on 28 to 29 October 2014. Other signatories include Unilever, BASF, Nestlé, SAI Platform, Syngenta, Bayer CropScience and a number of other leading global food industry organisations, certification bodies and NGOs.

The Declaration of Abu Dhabi is a global collaboration between public and private partners in the food industry in order to identify, align and implement practical, sustainable solutions to growing global food security and safety challenges.

Read more here

 

 


Defining Resilience and Diversity in Agriculture

BFBCEnsuring a resilient and diverse agriculture that is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable is amongst the greatest global challenges.

This year’s President’s Event will bring together some of the evidence of the impact of agricultural diversity on productivity, pest and disease control, ecosystem services, nutrition and health. It will also explore the potential to minimise the effects of climate change on farming, specifically relating to crops, livestock, biodiversity, our markets and diets.

Read more here

 

 


 

Let Nature Feed Your Senses Conference 2014

BFBCJoin us at our fifth annual conference to be held at The Priory Rooms Conference & Meeting Place, Birmingham B4 6AF on 19th November.

Building community engagement, funding opportunities and a farming business fit for purpose to support sensory rich, meaningful, fun and educational visits is the theme of our fifth annual Let Nature Feed Your Senses conference. Speakers include Jim Burt, Programme Manager, Outdoor Learning at Natural England and Sarah Giles, Development Manager at Farm Ability. A particular focus of the day will be looking at practical case study examples of how farmers have found creative solutions to the funding challenge. We will be exploring a number of different models that are helping farmers to deliver great visits that make sense for their businesses.

Read more here

 

 


 

Countryside Classroom, building a brand new sector-wide educational resource

BFBCLEAF are proud partners of the Countryside Classroom - a sector-wide collaboration promoting learning about food, farming and the countryside both in the natural environment and in the classroom. We are working together with other partner organisations to develop a new online educational resource for anyone involved in the education of pupils across the curriculum.

Read more here

 

 

 


 

Open Farm Sunday one month on: officially another record breaking year

BFBCLEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), the organisers of Open Farm Sunday confirm that 2014 was officially a record breaker - with increased visitor numbers, and greater reach across Britain than ever before. Since 8th June, LEAF has been reviewing feedback from both farmers and visitors and, one month on, is delighted to announce that just over 207,000 visitors visited a farm on Open Farm Sunday – a 3% increase on last year’s numbers.

375 farms opened up across every corner of the UK – from Britain’s most southerly mainland farm on The Lizard in Cornwall to the most northerly on the Orkney Islands. Some farmers reported that more visitors were travelling further out of urban areas to visit a farm, and were pleased to see a real willingness to learn about farming and food production.

The full press release can be downloaded here

 


 

Frogmary Green Farm Joins Network of LEAF Demonstration Farms

BFBCFrogmary Green Farm has become the latest farm to join LEAF’s nationwide network of LEAF Demonstration Farms. It joins over 40 other farms across the country set up to showcase the very best of sustainable farming practices.

Based on the edge of South Petherton in Somerset, Frogmary Green Farm is a 500 acre poultry and arable farm, run by Nick and Claire Bragg. The farm also grows potatoes for supermarkets, maize and grass for fodder. Frogmary Green Farm joined LEAF in 2008 and became LEAF Marque certified in 2013.

The full press release can be downloaded here

 


 

Open Farm Sunday one month on: officially another record breaking year

BFBCLEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), the organisers of Open Farm Sunday confirm that 2014 was officially a record breaker - with increased visitor numbers, and greater reach across Britain than ever before. Since 8th June, LEAF has been reviewing feedback from both farmers and visitors and, one month on, is delighted to announce that just over 207,000 visitors visited a farm on Open Farm Sunday – a 3% increase on last year’s numbers.

375 farms opened up across every corner of the UK – from Britain’s most southerly mainland farm on The Lizard in Cornwall to the most northerly on the Orkney Islands. Some farmers reported that more visitors were travelling further out of urban areas to visit a farm, and were pleased to see a real willingness to learn about farming and food production.

The full press release can be downloaded here

 


 


More farmers adopting sustainable farming practices reveals new report from LEAF

Our second global impacts report 'LEAF – inspiring and enabling sustainable farming'. A review of our global impacts 2014’ shows there has been a significant increase in the number of farms across the globe achieving LEAF Marque certification and in the amount of land grown to its standards. The amount of land across the globe growing LEAF Marque crops has increased by 31 per cent in the past 12 months to 247,053 hectares. This includes 186,989 hectares in the UK. The number of LEAF Marque certified producers has also increased by 6.6 per cent from 896 to 955. The majority of LEAF Marque farmers are working within the cereals sector (59 per cent) followed by horticulture (33 per cent).

As part of the report, LEAF has developed a new set of sustainability indicators to help assess what impact IFM is having on the sustainability of its LEAF farmer members. This covers all aspects of the farm such as soil management, energy and water efficiency, crop protection, animal husbandry and community engagement.

In the past 12 months, the indicators show that there has been an increase of 46 per cent in the hectares of crop where beneficial wildlife is protected and supported, and a 36 per cent increase in hectares of crop under a Crop Protection Policy. There has also been an increase of 49 per cent in the hectares of crop where nitrogen efficiency per tonne product is measured and similar gains shown for farmers measuring their water and energy efficiency, both up by 41%.

Read the full report here   Read the full press release here.

 


LEAF Chief Executive, Caroline Drummond awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Society for the Environment

data-cke-saved-src="http://www.leafuk.org/resources/000/533/079/Mrs_Middletons_3.png"

Caroline Drummond MBE, Chief Executive of LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) was among five new Honorary Fellows to be presented by the Society for the Environment (SocEnv) yesterday, during a reception at the House of Lords. Caroline received her Fellowship in recognition of the contribution she has made, through her work with LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), to encourage best practice environmental stewardship amongst farmers and deliver more sustainable food and farming.

The Society for the Environment is a leading independent, non-political umbrella organisation for environmental and sustainability professionals. Also honoured were Angela Brady, Director of Brady Mallalieu Architects Ltd; Professor Raymond Clark OBE, Chief Executive of the Society of Environmental Engineers; Polly Higgins, author, barrister and environmental lawyer and Judy Ling Wong CBE OBE, Honorary President of Black Environment Network.

 

Read the full press release here.

 


Eden Foodservice joins LEAF and achieves Food for Life Silver

Eden Foodservice, which provides catering services for 400 schools, has joined sustainable food and farming organisation LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming). Sourcing LEAF Marque produce has helped it to become the first catering company to achieve the Silver Food for Life Catering Mark for its 353 primary schools from the Food for Life Partnership.

The LEAF Marque is a leading environmental food label based on LEAF's Integrated Farm Management (IFM) principles. IFM uses the best of modern technology and traditional methods to deliver prosperous farming that enriches the environment and engages local communities. It covers energy and resource use, soil and water management and creating natural habitats for the benefit of plants and wildlife.

Visit www.leafmarque.com for more information.

Read the full press release here.

 


 

Specialist farming business leads the way in sustainability

BFBC

Barton Hill Farm, in Bedfordshire, has become the latest farming business to be recognised for its commitment to sustainable farming by LEAF.

The farm produces wheat and oilseed rape for its own artisan oil and flour brand, Mrs Middleton’s. Mrs Middleton’s flour will now carry the LEAF Marque on pack, shortly to be followed by its cold pressed rapeseed oil later this summer.

Download the full press release here.

 


 

Great habitats, more flowers, better protection - LEAF's guide to pollinating insects for farmers

Mrs_MiddletonsOur new guide to pollinating insects for farmers is now available to download for LEAF members. The new guide sets out some practical and cost effective ways for farmers to increase the number of pollinating insects on their land. This could be through minimising the use of pesticides, providing food sources and habitats, hosting bee hives and, where possible, accommodating wasp nests. We hope it will inspire farmers to take action on the ground and help them recognise the crucial role they play in helping to reverse the decline of these precious insects.

The interactions between pollinators and agriculture are extremely complex and have generated considerable recent research interest. This has been stimulated by increasing recognition of the importance of insect pollination in maintaining yields of some crops, coupled with evidence that many species of pollinating insects have declined substantially.

Agriculture, horticulture and farm management practices can have a huge influence on the number and behaviour of pollinator species over wide areas. In particular, through the adoption of Integrated Farm Management, it is possible to support and value a healthy population of pollinators alongside the production of safe, quality and responsibly produced food.

LEAF members can download 'Great habitats, more flowers, better protection - LEAF's guide to pollinating insects for farmers', for free from the Information Centre on myLEAF here.

If you're not a LEAF member you can join online to get access to all of our membership services - for more information on LEAF membership and to join online

 


 

Big Farmland Bird Count - the results are in!

BFBCThe first ever Big Farmland Bird Count took place between the 1st and 7th February this year.  Despite some truly horrible weather across most of the UK, loads of farmers downloaded their recording sheets and got counting on their farms.  We are proud to support such vital monitoring work across the UK.

Much of the good work done by farmers to help reverse farmland bird decline goes unrecorded.  We want to remedy that and help farmers record the effect of any conservation schemes currently being initiated on their land such as supplementary feeding or growing wild bird seed crops and game cover crops.

This year, over 500 farmers took part in the count and over 90 of you were LEAF Marque certified.  The results were announced on Countryfile on the 13th April and are available to download here.

116 different species were recorded with 11 red list species recorded.  Six of those red-listed species, linnet, yellowhammer, hedge sparrow, tree sparrow, starling and lapwing appeared in the top 25 of birds counted.

If the count has inspired you, perhaps you would like to use LEAF’s Green Box to monitor wildlife populations on your farm.  The Green Box also features monitoring tools for soil, water and air quality.

The Green Box is free to access for LEAF members, simply log in to myLEAF at www.leafuk.org/myLEAF

Save the dates for next year’s Big Farmland Bird Count - 7th and 15th February 2015.

 


 

What's your biggest soil management challenge?

LEAF is launching the first issue of it's new service, LEAF’s Integrated Farm Management Bulletin. The first issue of the new email bulletin service is being issued to all LEAF's members on Friday 7th March and focusses on sustainable soil management. So we’re asking what you think will be the biggest challenge to your soil over the coming year. Please answer the poll below, and it will be followed up on our blog later in the year. The Integrated Farm Management Bulletin is a benefit of LEAF membership, for full details click here.

 


LEAF urges farmers to consider opportunities presented by wet weather

Following recent severe wet weather, which has left hundreds of acres of farmland covered by floodwater, LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) is urging farmers to take a longer term view and consider some practical steps they can be taking now, to ensure more sustainable water management going forward.

Simple steps to assess water drainage on your farm:

  • Walk the fields and waterways (where possible) in extreme conditions as some issues only show up during extreme weather
  • Maintain existing drains to ensure they are free flowing and outflows into ditches are not blocked
  • Manage drainage ditch clearance to ensure optimum water quality levels and to encourage wildlife, in co-operation with neighbours and in line with stewardship agreements
  • Consider establishing field scrapes or reed beds
  • Monitor water quality at field drain outlets
  • Develop field drainage maps and keep them up to date with any changes, such as new drains or outlets
  • Avoid draining environmentally valuable wetland areas and meadows. Wet woodland, wet grassland and wet meadows are very valuable habitats, rich in biodiversity.

Read the full press release here.


 

LEAF conference highlights the economic benefits of sustainable farming

LEAF's President's EventLEAF's President's Event 2013 - Read the blog summary, written live at the event by LEAF Trustee, Cedric Porter

Experts from across the food and farming sector have urged farmers to realise the economic benefits that sustainable farming delivers.

Speakers at LEAF’s annual President’s Event on 5th November entitled “Sustainable Agriculture: Show me the money”, highlighted the multiple ways in which farmers can maximise the three pillars of sustainability - economic performance , environmental quality and social health - to drive their businesses forward.

Key note speaker Gregor Henderson, Public Health England challenged farmers to realise the full potential of their assets and the social return on investment. He explained that farmers are key players in the promotion of health and wellbeing through farm visits, open days and community engagement. He demonstrated that this approach can deliver benefits for farmers and the wider community.

Download the full press release


 

10,421 Farming Biggest Job on Earth t-shirts given away by BASF

The word is spreading and so are the t-shirts. Since BASF launched its Farming: The Biggest Job on Earth campaign, the company has given away 10,421 t-shirts and anticipate that a further 20,000 will be requested over the coming months.

Commending the campaign, LEAF's Chief Executive, Caroline Drummond said: "LEAF is really proud to support the Farming: The Biggest Job on Earth campaign. By collaborating with others, we can all help raise awareness of what farmers are doing to meet the global challenges of sustainable food production. We can work to develop practical solutions which will enable farmers to make the changes on the ground that are required. Together, we can work towards a more sustainable farming system – for the benefit of all."

Download the press release here.


 

LEAF member crowned the most nature-friendly farmer

After weeks of public voting and a nervous wait for the finalists, LEAF Member, Nicholas Watts has been crowned this year’s winner of the RSPB’s Nature of Farming Awards.

The awards recognise the extra mile that farmers like Nicholas go to to give nature a home on their farms. The competition was tougher than ever this year, with the number of UK finalists increasing from four to eight.  Nicholas entered the competition in order to show that producing food and protecting nature can go hand in hand.

Nicholas, who has been a LEAF member since 1995, farms Vine House Farm, a 2000 acre arable farm in the Lincolnshire Fenlands, together with his son in law Robert and daughter, Lucy.  It is a perfect example of how a large, commercially successful farm can support a diverse range of birds and wildlife.     He grows a wide range of crops including wheat, potatoes, sugar beet and vegetables as well as a range of seed crops for the farm’s wild bird feed enterprise, including many acres of sunflowers.  The farm also has its own farm shop supplying home-grown and locally produced food as well as its own bird feed mixes. He also farms 300 acres of land organically, primarily with wildlife in mind.  You can find out more about the business here.

Since 1982, Nicholas has kept detailed records of the wildlife on the farm, tracking positive and negative changes.  Based on this, he tailors his farming practices to achieve the best possible habitats for wildlife including insect-rich meadows and nectar flower mixtures, arable plants flourishing in cultivated strips and seed rich habitats for sacrificial cereals crops for birds. As a result of his efforts, his farm attracts numerous seed-eating species like tree sparrows, skylarks, corn buntings, chaffinches, greenfinches, linnets and yellowhammers.

Speaking on the award, Nicholas said:

“It was in 1982 when I started recording the breeding birds on the farm but I didn’t realise just how fast they were declining until 1992, and this really worried me. I love farming and I love wildlife especially the birds so I just had to start reversing the decline on my farm. It was about this time when LEAF started so I joined without delay.”

Across the UK more than 13,000 people cast their votes in this year’s RSPB Nature of Farming competition. The public were clearly inspired by the work Nicholas does on his farm to combine profitable farming with environmental care.  Also amongst the finalists, was LEAF member, Richard Bramley from Manor Farm in Kelfield, Yorkshire.  Congratulations to Nicholas, Richard and all the finalists!

Click here for more on all the finalists.


 

M&S demonstrates sustainability credentials with its fresh pork

The LEAF Marque logoAll fresh Outdoor Bred pork sold by Marks & Spencer is now LEAF Marque certified, demonstrating that it has been produced sustainably.

The fresh pork sold through the retailer is produced by family farming business, Mercer Farming which achieved LEAF Marque certification last month. The LEAF Marque is an assurance system which recognises sustainably farmed products. It is based on LEAF’s Integrated Farm Management (IFM) principles, which use the best of modern technology and traditional methods to deliver prosperous farming that enriches the environment and engages local communities.

Like all LEAF Marque certified farms, Mercer Farming was independently inspected to ensure it met the stringent sustainability criteria. Integrated Farm Management has always been important for the Staffordshire based farming company; some examples of how this is implemented on the farm include the use of manure from pig units as a natural fertiliser and using their own straw for the pigs to use as bedding.

Click here to download the full press release.


 

World Water Week

1st - 6th September 2013

Throughout this year's World Water Week we will be raising awareness of the importance of good water management in agriculture. As one of the nine sections of Integrated Farm Management, water management is a key part of farming sustainably. For farmers and the food industry, LEAF is here to help.

On our World Water Week page you can find quick links to our resources for farmers and landowners, videos, links to various blog posts and articles, global water statistics and all the tweets from #wwweek.

Click here to see more.


 

LEAF welcomes new Government Agri-Tech Strategy

Agricultural knowledge, science and technology will be crucial in addressing the challenges of moving to more sustainable food production systems. LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) therefore welcomes the new Government Agri-tech Strategy, launched Monday 22nd July.

A £160 million investment into new technologies to help farmers deliver sustainable, healthy and affordable food is certainly very positive. However, in order to meet the stated objectives of the strategy, it is essential that we take an integrated approach to science, policy and practice. The challenge will be to bridge the gaps between farmers, industry, academics in delivering independent and transparent advice which supports knowledge exchange between researchers and farmers, but with commercial interests also served.

Read the full statement here.


 

LEAF receives global recognition from ISEAL

LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) has been accepted as an associate member of the ISEAL Alliance, the global membership association for sustainability standards. Becoming an associate member of ISEAL recognises that LEAF is committed to embracing credible practices, such as transparency and accountability, and improving with like-minded peers in its efforts to deliver sustainable farming on a global scale through the LEAF Marque assurance scheme.

Associate membership is an important step to gaining full membership in ISEAL and indicates that LEAF is on a path to demonstrating full compliance with ISEAL's stringent Codes of Good Practice within a set time frame. ISEAL's Codes of Good Practice are a global reference for developing credible sustainability standards covering the standard-setting and design process, monitoring and evaluation and the implementation of the assurance process. Compliance ensures that standards strive for continuous improvement and use credible and effective systems that are more likely to deliver positive social and environmental impacts.

Download the full press release here or find out more about ISEAL here.


 

Record Numbers Attend Open Farm Sunday 2013

Right across the country farmers have reported record attendance for Open Farm Sunday 2013. Feedback from farms indicates that, in many cases, visitor numbers were up by between 10-20% on last year, leading organisers’ LEAF, (Linking Environment And Farming) to estimate that over 200,000 people visited one of the 365 farms that opened.

With sunshine bathing most of Britain, the increase in visitor numbers was seen in farms from Cornwall to Northumberland and Scotland to Essex. Conversations on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, had already reached new levels before the weekend, and on Open Farm Sunday itself, the channels were literally buzzing with fantastic feedback from visitors about their day on a farm – as well, of course, appreciation for all the work farmers and their helpers had put into their events.

Read the full press release here.


 

Social media bridging the gap between farmers and consumers

  • Eight in ten farmers now active on social media
  • Three quarters of farmers claim the internet has brought them and consumers closer together
  • Seven in ten farmers say they have seen an increase in consumers’ interest in farming over the past 12 months
  • Six in ten farmers have increased the time spent on social media over the past year
  • Nearly half of farmers say people are surprised to find them online
  • Most popular platforms are: Facebook (70%); Twitter (45%) and LinkedIn (24%)

As part of their drive to connect with the public, more and more farmers are turning to the internet and with great success. Three quarters of farmers surveyed believe the web has helped them get closer to consumers and many now use Twitter and Facebook to connect with the public, as well as their own websites and blogs.

Read the full press release here.

 


 

New Tried & Tested Guide - 'Feed Planning for Cattle and Sheep'

A feed plan for your cattle or sheep can make your farm run more sustainably. There is potential for cost savings and greater profitability at the same time as improving the environment through reducing nutrient losses to the atmosphere and water. The feed planning approach can help bring things together on the farm, linking the environment with the health of your cattle and the profitability of your farm.

An innovative new Tried & Tested guide, 'Feed Planning for Cattle and Sheep', has been launched to help boost farm profitability, reduce nutrient waste and environmental impact. See the principles in action with LEAF member, Stephen Hobbs, below. Click here for more information and to download the guide.


 

 

Leading expert urges the farming industry to be engaged in the obesity debate

A leading expert in sustainable farming is calling for farmers to be consulted more when looking at ways to develop healthier food and tackle the obesity crisis. Speaking at the Nuffield Frank Arden Memorial conference on 24 April, Caroline Drummond, MBE and Chief Executive of LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), presented findings from her 12 month study into the role farmers can play in improving the nutritional value of food.

Download the full report here >


 

Stockcroft Pigs joins LEAF to benefit from environmental expertise

Pork producer Stockcroft Pigs has joined sustainable farming organisation LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) as a corporate member. Stockcroft Pigs is looking to implement LEAF’s Integrated Farm Management (IFM) sustainable farming principles across its 50 contracted farms based in the South, West of England and Wales.

Download the full press release here >


 

Farming and food industry unites to celebrate agriculture’s biggest day

LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) is delighted to announce that the backing from the farming and food industry for this year’s Open Farm Sunday is stronger than ever, with both new and previous sponsors committing to support the 2014 campaign. Asda, The Co-operative, M&S, Tesco and Waitrose are all confirmed as 2014 sponsors, alongside Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board, BASF, Country Life butter, Defra, Farmers Weekly, Frontier Agriculture, John Deere, LEAF Marque, National Farmers’ Union, Syngenta and Hellmann’s.

Click here to read the full press release >

 


New perspectives on sustainable soil management

Sustainable soil management

LEAF's Simply Sustainable Soils booklet has taken a step further and you can now see Simply Sustainable Soils in action on farms across the UK. There are six preview soil case studies available on the LEAF website and a further 17 will be available to LEAF members soon.

The case studies feature practical on-farm data and guidance behind the assessment in the Simply Sustainable Soils booklet. This data has been compiled into a set of case studies to act as a reservoir of suggestions and ideas for farmers looking at their soil management.

Download the case studies here >

 


Big Farmland Bird Count

Big Farmland Bird Count

1st - 7th February 2014

This year, GWCT is launching the first annual Big Farmland Bird Count, in partnership with LEAF and the FWAG Association, sponsored by BASF. We're urging our members to take part to help determine how our farmland bird species are faring and to highlight the good conservation work being undertaken on farmland across the UK. Click here for more details and to take part.

What is the Big Farmland Bird Count?

The count will take place between the 1st and 7th February 2014, and involves to spending about 30 minutes recording the species and number of birds seen on one particular area of your farm. Interested? Click the link below and sign yourself up - make the first Big Farmland Bird Count a great success!

Take part in the count


The countdown begins to Open Farm Sunday 8th June 2014
Register early to help Celebrate British Farming and Food

Registrations for next year’s Open Farm Sunday opened on Sunday (1st December) and organisers LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) are encouraging farmers to sign up as early as possible.

To help and support host farmers to open on 8th June 2014, LEAF are organising a series of free Information Events, running from early February to late April across Britain. Packed with advice, top tips, key learnings and new ideas, these events are also a great opportunity to share experiences with experienced hosts.

Farmers planning to host an Open Farm Sunday event can register online at www.farmsunday.org. Registering as early as possible ensures farmers get all their free resources early as well as ongoing help and support from LEAF throughout the run up to the big day.

Sign up here and download the full press release here.


BASIS and LEAF launch new Integrated Farm Management course

BASIS and LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) are launching a new Integrated Farm Management (IFM) course, designed to provide farmers and advisers with the skills and knowledge to take a whole farm approach to more sustainable farming.

Rob Simpson, BASIS Managing Director says: “The changing pace and demands on our food production systems require a more sustainable approach to farm management. Implementing IFM principles enables farmers to operate profitable businesses capable of both producing quality food and managing the environment sensitively.

IFM provides a sound basis for the development of farm assurance schemes, in particular LEAF Marque. The course also plays an important role in developing the knowledge and skill of any adviser, agronomist or consultant, especially in the delivery of the Thematic Pesticide Strategy and Integrated Pest Management.

Read the full press release here.


Elveden Farms Joins Network of LEAF Demonstration Farms

Elveden Farms has become the latest farm to join LEAF’s nationwide network of LEAF Demonstration Farms. It joins over 40 other farms across the country set up to showcase the very best of sustainable farming practices.

Based in East Anglia, on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, Elveden Farms is one of the largest single farm units in lowland Britain, extending to 9,100 hectares, specialising in the production of vegetables, including potatoes, onions, carrots and parsnips. It also grows a variety of cereals including barley and wheat and is the largest producer of rye in the UK. The farm is LEAF Marque certified, which means it is independently audited to ensure it meets stringent sustainable farming standards.

Download the press release here.

 


LEAF’s Chief Executive awarded an Honorary Doctorate

Caroline Drummond, Chief Executive of LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) will receive an honorary doctorate from Harper Adams University in recognition of her work to combine modern farming with conservation and in engaging the public in farming matters.

Caroline has worked for LEAF since it was established in 1991 and was recognised for her contribution to the farming industry as a Pioneer for the Life of the Nation by Her Majesty the Queen. In 2009, she was awarded an MBE for services to the agricultural industry. Caroline also sits on a number of government and independent committees and is actively involved in many industry partnerships.

On receiving her honorary doctorate, Caroline said: “I am hugely privileged and honoured to be recognised in this way. Harper Adams University has a long tradition of inspiring young people to make a difference. Our work at LEAF is about working towards a sustainable agricultural industry where the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the next generation of farmers can be realised. It is important to stress that this degree recognises the high calibre of staff at LEAF, who work hard to support our members and help to make my job possible.”

Caroline will be presented with her honorary doctorate at the Harper Adams Graduation Ceremony at 2.30pm on Friday 20th September. Other awards are being made to Stephen Woodgate, Professor Sir John Beddington and the Duke of Westminster.


 

LEAF Marque celebrates 10 years

This month marks the 10th anniversary of the LEAF Marque, a global assurance system recognising sustainably farmed products. The LEAF Marque was first launched during the Wimbledon Championships in July 2003, giving recognition to farmers producing food to LEAF’s sustainable farming practices.

During LEAF Marque’s first year, over 150 farmers achieved certification representing some 10,000 hectares of fruit and vegetables. Members of the public wanting to buy products carrying the LEAF Marque were able to find them in Waitrose, which were the first supermarket to stock LEAF Marque products.

Key achievements since LEAF Marque launched:

2003: Over 150 farmers signed up for LEAF Marque, representing some 10 000 hectares of fruit and vegetables. LEAF Marque produce became available in Waitrose stores across the UK.

2004: LEAF buyers and suppliers directory launched to put likeminded suppliers and buyers in touch.

2005: Burts Chips became the first brand to use the LEAF Marque on pack.

2007: LEAF Marque became global and Marks and Spencer encouraged all of its suppliers to become LEAF Marque certified.

2011: LEAF Marque was recognised in Defra’s plans for food procurement. Cited as one of the ways the Government can meet its sustainability targets.

2012: Florette set out its commitment to source 100% LEAF Marque salad for its full salad range and Unilever committed to sourcing 100% of its oilseed rape from LEAF Marque growers through ADM.

2013: Waitrose announced it will source all of its UK grown oilseed rape and wheat from LEAF Marque growers.design process, monitoring and evaluation and the implementation of the assurance process. Compliance ensures that standards strive for continuous improvement and use credible and effective systems that are more likely to deliver positive social and environmental impacts.

Download the full press release here.


Owen Paterson calls for GM in the UK – Statement from LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming)

Owen Paterson called for businesses to come to the UK if they want to research and develop GM technology. Speaking at Rothamsted Research yesterday, Mr Paterson said, “We cannot expect to feed tomorrow’s population with yesterday’s agriculture. We have to use every tool at our disposal.”

LEAF Comment

Caroline Drummond, LEAF Chief Executive, said, “GM technology has the potential to benefit the sustainability of farming systems in the UK. However, the potential benefits to farmers and consumers need to be clearly identified and weighed against the possible risks and there are several areas that cannot be neglected.

“One of these is the need for more research into GM technology. We need to be able to establish the development of plants that have greater resistance to pests and diseases, more resilience to adverse environments and develop the nutritional value of crops.

"Added to this, is the importance of beneficial husbandry practices through the adoption of Integrated Farm Management. Rotations, safe use of inputs, cultivation choice, variety choice, good record keeping and management systems such as those advocated by LEAF are essential. GM will never be an alternative to these practices but it has the potential to be one of the tools in the box.”


 

Waitrose to source LEAF Marque certified commodity crop ingredients

LEAF is to work with Waitrose to source LEAF Marque certified commodity crop ingredients, such as wheat and rapeseed oil.

The LEAF Marque is a global environmental assurance system recognising sustainably farmed products. It is based on LEAF’s Integrated Farm Management (IFM) principles and all LEAF Marque farms are independently inspected. There are 487 LEAF Marque farmers in the UK and 580 in another 36 countries.

LEAF Marque farmers already supply Waitrose with all of its UK sourced fruit and vegetables and Leckford Estate – the Waitrose Farm – is a LEAF Marque certified farm. Adopting the LEAF Marque standard for its commodity crops means that Waitrose will strengthen its control frameworks for ingredients such as wheat and oilseed rape.

Read the full press release here.


 

Young shoppers’ backing sees support for British farmers rise

  • Nearly eight in ten shoppers (78%) would buy British food when available

  • 18-24 year olds are twice as likely (69%) to buy British than in 2007 (36%)

  • Nearly eight in ten shoppers (78%) believe that British farmers deserve the full support of the British public

  • Almost half (45%) say that they want to hear more about farmers

The number of shoppers seeking out British food is at a record level according to new research from IGD ShopperVista. The findings, released ahead of LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday, show that shoppers are nearly 1½ times more likely to buy British food than they were six years ago, with younger shoppers and families driving this growth.

Read the full press release here.


 

Parents turn to British countryside for family tripsfarm visit

 

  • One in five parents are more likely to visit the countryside than they were five years ago
  • 82% of families from urban areas have visited the countryside in the past 12 months
  • Top three locations for family visits are parks, seaside and countryside
  • Three quarters of parents surveyed agree it’s important for everyone to know more about how their food is grown and produced

The great outdoors is back in favour for families, with one in five parents (22%) saying they are more likely to visit the countryside than they were five years ago. A new survey of Asda shoppers carried out ahead of LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday, also found that more than eight in ten (82%) parents from urban areas have visited the countryside with their families within the last year. Read more here.