As stakeholders representing agriculture and the environment, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and NFU Scotland agree that a sustainable agricultural sector and a thriving natural environment can be mutually supportive of one another.

We also agree that policies for agriculture, the rural economy, and climate change and the environment have in the past combined to give conflicting direction. Champions for Change is a collaborative project to demonstrate that there are real champions within the industry that want to see a powerful change of direction from our current system of land management policies.

We believe that with the right combination of knowledge-exchange within the agricultural industry, input from environmental experts and policy direction from the Scottish Government, there is significant opportunity ahead to make changes in land management that can bring about better outcomes in the face of the climate and biodiversity crises.

The project will:

a) provide a platform to farmers to champion changes which, if scaled up (and appropriately rewarded through future land management policy where necessary) could be transformative.

b) highlight to the Scottish Government that we both want to see:

  • Clarity on direction of travel for future agriculture and land management policy from Scottish Government, in terms of what will be expected of land managers in order to deliver environmental and productivity outcomes – particularly in the context of the Green Recovery from Covid-19.
  • Commitment to fairer, long-term funding for schemes that deliver environmental benefit to allow farmers to deliver biodiversity and climate targets.
  • A commitment to investing in natural capital, genuine environmental improvement and supporting the rural economy play a key role in delivering a Green Recovery from Covid-19.
Mob grazing in Angus © Bruce Wilson
Mob grazing in Angus © Bruce Wilson

Achieving change in agriculture

The Scottish Wildlife Trust and NFU Scotland have set out a number of important first steps that the Scottish Government can take to support farmers and crofters in responding to the climate and biodiversity crises.

Meet the Champions

We’ve asked farmers from around Scotland to tell us about the difference that they are already making within their farm businesses to ensure that farming and the natural environment support one another, and explain how these practices could be expanded. Keep checking back for more videos.

Championing agroforestry

Andrew Barbour demonstrates the benefits, for both biodiversity and farm profitability, of integrating forestry and trees.

Championing ecosystems

Carey Coombs describes the approach on his organic farm as treating the whole farm as an ‘ecosystem’, under which numerous decisions are made.

Championing pollinators

Willie Thompson explains the work that he does on his farm for pollinators.

Championing soil sampling

Martin Kennedy explains the value of soil sampling work on his farm.

Championing precision

Neil White explains the multiple benefits of employing precision farming methods.

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