Nature-friendly farmers call for radical policy overhaul post-Brexit

nature friendly farmers bees

Brexit is a once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure British farmers have the systems and policies in place to grow affordable, healthy food whilst restoring biodiversity and reversing soil declines.

In February, the Government launched the ‘Health and Harmony: The Future for Food, Farming and the Environment in a Green Brexit’ consultation. This paper outlined the future direction for policies post-Brexit and opened a 10-week consultation period, giving farmers a unique chance to shape the future of farming policy.

After supporting the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) with its launch in January, Greenhouse has been working with the network to share its response to Defra’s Command Paper with a farmer survey, media relations and social activity.


Calling for radical policy change

Greenhouse worked with the Nature Friendly Farming Network to design a survey that asked farmers what they want from agricultural policy post-Brexit.

The survey revealed overwhelming support for a radical overhaul of agricultural policy. However, in spite of Secretary of State, Michael Gove’s promises to use ‘public money for public goods’, many farmers are still concerned that the Government will fail to deliver on its promised reform.

  • Nine out of ten (89%) nature friendly farmers in the UK believe that now is the moment for radical change in agricultural policy to ensure sustainable and profitable food production in the UK, whilst caring for the environment.
  • Almost half (47%) of those surveyed are pessimistic and don’t feel confident that the Government will deliver the farming policy required to create positive environmental change.
  • 96% of respondents want high environmental standards to be a key requirement of future trade deals – to combat the threat of cheap imports.
  • Eight out of ten (79%) believe that the governments in each of the UK countries should cooperate to put the environment at the centre of future farming policy, through a common framework.
  • 93% say that it is crucial to maintain at least the current level of investment, refocused to deliver better value for money, to ensure a thriving sustainable agriculture sector in the UK.
  • All of the farmers surveyed (98%) called for a greater understanding of the critical role that farming plays in protecting the environment and delivering public goods.

Raising the voices of nature-friendly farmers

Greenhouse PR advised the NFFN on the survey, we built the story and ran a national PR and social media campaign.  We worked with farmers across the UK to develop case studies of farming champions who can demonstrate that nature friendly farming can lead to both sustainable and profitable food production.

Since the launch, the Nature Friendly Farming survey and farmer case studies have been widely featured in the media including, Daily Express, Farmers Weekly, Farmers Guardian and The Brighton Argus.

TV and radio crews were sent out to farms across the country to see first-hand why it is crucial the Government backs nature in the Agricultural Bill, farmers were interviewed by BBC Spotlight, ITV Border, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and more.

On Twitter, we designed assets to share the results of the survey and the farmer’s point of view. By engaging with Defra, Michael Gove and other key influencers the hashtag #NatureFriendlyFarming reached nearly one million people.

Greenhouse works with forward-looking people and organisations, from renewable energy companies to non-profit campaigns and innovators. If you have a great story to tell or are working to effect positive change, we would love to hear from you.