LEAF is all about putting farmers firmly in the driving seat to deliver more sustainable farming. Our annual IFM Event is a big part of this – bringing farmers, researchers, advisors and industry experts together to explore new ideas, highlight innovations and share ingenuity. LEAF’s IFM Manager, Alice Midmer, tells us more about this year’s event.
Shining a spotlight on how farmers can optimise biodiversity to deliver business benefits across the whole farm, was the focus of this year’s IFM Event. Our hosts were LEAF Demonstration Farm, Elveden Estate, one of Norfolk’s largest farming enterprises – always an inspiring place to be and a fabulous backdrop to seeing IFM (Integrated Farm Management) in action, examining biodiversity and its role in driving forward business growth.
Field tours during the day gave an insight into real, practical examples of IFM in action and highlighted new trends and best practice. The first session focussed on how biodiversity can be harnessed in the soil to optimise production and workability of the land.
The role of biodiversity in crop health was then explored, through better use of beneficials, and smarter crop rotations. The afternoon looked at how biodiversity can and could play a role in human health and market opportunity.
The uptake of more sustainable farming through IFM is all about continual improvement. Events like these, which bring together some of country’s most forward-looking farmers and leading researchers, enables farmers to access cutting edge research and explore how to deploy it on their own business. In turn, researchers learn a lot from farmers’ practical ingenuity.
Of course, the success of any event, can only be measured by what people get out of it. Dave Ellerton, Technical Development Director at Hutchinsons described the event as “innovative and offered a completely different approach to communications, capturing new opportunities to a large group of farmers.”
Jeremy Durrant, a LEAF Demonstration Farmer from Essex said that the event “was a real inspiration and made me think about the application of different practices and reflect on my already detailed business planning approach and how to take it to the next level.”
The key take home message was that biodiversity is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a crucial business tool to drive forward economic growth as well as environmental improvements. Thanks to everyone who attended and if you missed, it take a look at our highlights video below, produced by Green Shoots Productions