74% of the AONB is a farmed landscape.
The farmed area of the AONB reflects centuries of land management practices and traditions which remain at the heart of our rural communities, producing high quality food, maintaining and shaping the landscape. Farming has a key role to play in protecting the environment by keeping air and rivers clean, improving soils and providing wildlife habitats.
The agricultural sector is entering a period of major change especially funding and market uncertainties while arrangements for post Brexit environmental land management system is developed and a seven-year transition period enables farm businesses to plan.
Existing government direct payments to farmers will be phased out and a new system will recognise and value broader societal benefits with payments being based on the provision of public goods. The decline in farming incomes and increased financial pressures are leading landowners to seek alternative land uses, such as the use of agricultural land for caravan parks, game shoots, tourist attractions, flood alleviation and the creation of wildlife habitats.
Increased public interest has been expressed over soil health, fertilisers, pesticides and land management techniques. The recent spread of plant and animal diseases represent an increased threat to business viability. A decline in family mixed farms accompanied by an ageing farming population, a shortage of new entrants to the industry, and an increasing burden of regulation and administration threatens the culture of farming
The Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund rewards groups of farmers for coming together to work out the best ways to improve the natural environment across their land, providing habitats for wildlife on a landscape scale to better aid conservation of important species. There are now 98 groups working across England with the common goal of better delivering environmental improvements on their land, and the land of their neighbours.
The Avon Valley Facilitation group is in year five of a five year programme and is working with partner organisations to enable landscape scale benefits throughout the Avon valley. We work with farmers to help them access countryside stewardship schemes and organise a range of workshops on topics ranging from farm tracks to controlling parasites.
Further information about this project is available here: Avon Valley Farmers Group
Constant updates and changes to policy directives are hard to keep up with. Wherever possible, this page will provide links through to the most relevant websites that are of significance to the farming community and any interested person.
Championing the Farmed Environment Find out how to receive the best possible advice and guidance on how to retain and increase the environmental benefits provided by your farmland.