The farmer-led Beacons Water Group in Wales, is piloting changes in agricultural practice which improve farm efficiency and/or resilience, and improve water quality above the minimum regulation.
The Beacons Water Group evolved after farmers had attended meetings around the establishment of Welsh Water’s Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment (BBMC) project and the subsequent visit by a representative from a world-renowned group in the US, the Watershed Agricultural Council.
Nigel Elgar, manager of BBMC, says the farmers and their ideas are contributing significantly to improving resilience and public goods, such as water quality, biodiversity, and forestry.
Farmer, Alun Thomas, from Llangorse, says he got involved having seen the benefits of improving farm infrastructure and keeping rainwater out of slurry.
Mr Thomas says: “I’m reducing costs, saving time, and using fewer nutrients because I’m not losing it down into the water courses and rivers.”
Another farmer, Keri Davies, from the Crai Valley, says the time is right to look at environmental improvements: “Brexit is creating a mood for change – the public wants to see more public goods coming out of our financial support from government.
‘I am reducing costs, saving time, and using fewer nutrients’
• Farming connect (Wales): businesswales.gov.wales/farmingconnect/
• Farm Advisory Service (Scotland): www.fas.scot/
• Catchment Sensitive Farming (England): www.gov.uk/government/publications/catchment-sensitive-farming-officer-contacts
• A good carbon footprinting calculator can be found at: www.agrecalc.com/
• For advice on reducing ammonia emissions: www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-good-agricultural-practice-for-reducing-ammonia-emissions