Our PR and Policy Officer Rebecca Dutton recently attended the Regenerative Agriculture Conference with The Green Farm Collective in Albrighton, Shropshire. 

The event included a wide range of fascinating speakers, all with farming at their heart.

Lee Truelove, Head of Regenerative Farming, at First Milk, a British farmer-owned dairy co-operative, spoke about how regenerative farming needs to be thought about holistically and includes biodiversity, water quality and social responsibility.

He said biodiversity is in every square metre – not just around the edges of fields – a point the CRT very much agrees with. 

“The most impactful thing you can do on a farm is rotation and increase grazing and the second is to increase the diversity of grassland,” he said. 

This is certainly something many of the CRT’s farms are doing, for example, Matt and Betsie at Bray’s Farm in Surrey have a whole system approach, where they sow a diverse range of plants across their pastures and also manage the grazing of their cows using a multi paddock system. 

Lee Truelove, Head of Regenerative Farming at First Milk

Claire Whittle

Claire Whittle, Regenerative Vet

Rebecca also enjoyed hearing from Claire Whittle, aka Dr Dowhittle or the Regenerative Vet. She is a farm veterinary surgeon in Shropshire, offering consultancy to regenerative farming businesses and founder of Dung Beetles for Farmers. 

Claire discussed how animals and humans are linked when it comes to disease spread and natural ecosystems always out-perform human ones. 

“Healthy animals shouldn’t need me,” she said. “Nature is an important tool in the toolbox for health.” 
Claire emphasised just how important new designs for farm landscape are for heat mitigation in the next 30 years as our temperatures look set to rise. She said trees and hedges can provide shelter and shade for animals, as well as being beneficial for biosecurity, flood mitigation and wildlife. 

Volunteers across many CRT farms work hard to lay hedge rows and our two farms in Herefordshire were recently involved in a research project into what kinds of hedgerow suit hazel dormice, an endangered species. 

Livestock Collective panel discussion

Nikki Yoxall at the Green Farm Collective Conference

Nikki Yoxall at the Green Farm Collective Conference

Rebecca found interesting a powerful talk from Nikki Yoxall, head of research for Pasture for Life, on how we can create more nature in the places we also grow food.

She said: “Nature is not just a stakeholder, a board member, it’s the engine, the heart, the soul that grows our food.” 

We need nature recovery and animal health to improve human health, she says 

The CRT also works to educate people about nature-friendly farming and how healthy ecosystems support food production and our health and wellbeing. 

The conference finished with an in-depth talk from Andy Cato, from Wildfarmed, who recently feature on Clarkson’s Farm to help Jeremy learn more about regenerative standards. 

Also known as one half of electronic musical band Groove Armada, Andy discussed his journey into farming after he sold his music rights and the “humbling lessons” he learnt at first about the “vast number of skills needed to be a farmer that aren’t appreciated by larger society.”  

The CRT works hard to ensure our tenant farmers have the guidance and resources they need. 

The CRT’s PR and Policy Officer Rebecca Dutton said: “It’s always fascinating to hear from people in the industry and their views on regenerative farming at this time. There was the debate over whether it should be called regenerative farming, nature restoration or nature-friendly farming but everyone seemed to agree that as long as we are delivering something good, it does not matter what name we call it – and thriving countryside for both people and wildlife is the CRT’s vision.” 

How you can help

We can’t do it without you. If you want to help us protect local wildlife you can support the CRT in any number of ways, from joining as a CRT Friend to volunteering on one of our farms and attending our events. You can also sign-up to our monthly newsletter 'CRT News' for regular updates from our farms, straight to your inbox.

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