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Frontier, Kings and SOYL to highlight public and private funding opportunities for regen ag at Groundswell 2024

20th June 2024

Groundswell plot tours 2023

In an era of new agri-environmental policy and growing interest from supply chains to fund sustainable practices, this year’s Groundswell event will see Frontier Agriculture highlight the financial support available to farmers and what to consider ahead of future land management decisions.

Richard Barnes 022“A holistic approach to farming and the environment is more important than ever,” explains Frontier commercial lead for sustainable crop production, Richard Barnes. “New agri-environmental policy advocates for the protection of our natural capital resources, but this isn’t possible without commercially sustainable, profitable farming systems.

“It’s therefore vital to strike the right balance between food production and environmental land management, but this looks different on every farm. We want to help growers understand what’s right for them and what support can help them deliver it – be it expert advice, services or public and private funding.” 

Cover Crop Partner

Frontier’s specialist seed and environmental business, Kings Crops, will celebrate its eighth year as Groundswell’s official Cover Crop Partner, exhibiting at the two-day festival alongside Frontier’s sustainable crop production experts and precision farming business, SOYL.

Visitors to the event will have the opportunity to attend immersive cover crop tours on the stand, with Kings’ technical experts providing guided talks through a diverse range of 30 mixtures including wild bird food, pollen and nectar, legume fallow, forage, living mulch and companion crops.

Groundswell cover crop tours

Richard continues: “The mixtures deliver a range of benefits, from improving soil structure and supporting integrated pest management to providing valuable habitat, water quality protection and food for wildlife.

“As we walk the plots we’ll highlight how they can meet action requirements under different government schemes such as the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), as well as how they might be eligible for funding via partnership projects within supply chains.”

With an increasing focus on environmental outcomes, many water companies, food processors and retailers have to report on their financial climate-related risk or have set voluntary net-zero and environmental or regenerative targets.

To meet these goals, some of these business are incentivising farmers to carry out actions which increase natural capital or reduce emissions within the supply chain. This could be by providing seed, paying for the delivery of the actions on farm or by providing additional contract premiums for sustainably grown crops.

Richard notes that there are opportunities for growers to stack this kind of support with publicly funded schemes too. “The ability to combine different funding streams to support regenerative approaches offers flexibility for farmers to build a model that works for their individual farm, ensuring it delivers for the environment but crucially the long-term productivity and profitability of their business too.”

Tied to this are the key considerations growers must think about before adopting new approaches or different land management strategies.

Richard continues: “While access to a range of financial support is positive, choosing an action simply because it offers the highest payment rate isn’t a reliable method for success.

“It’s about taking the time to understand what you’re already working with so you can identify the actions most appropriate for that scenario as there is no single best approach that suits all farm situations.

“To help, we’ve devised an eight-step approach that encourages growers to ask themselves a range of questions when navigating future funding.”

The eight steps act as prompts to help farmers consider the strategic direction of their farm business, looking at how and where they might optimise production while increasing natural capital so environmental actions are done for the right reasons, in the right way and in the right place.

Groundswell plot tours 002

Groundswell session talks

On the topic of balancing the environment and food production, on the second day of the event Kings Crops sustainable farming advisor, Jim Egan, will host the session: ‘SFI 2024 – is it food vs. the environment or two sides of the same coin?’

Jim will be joined by farm director of Conant Farming, James Green, facilitator of the North Norfolk Coastal Group Farm Cluster, Charlie Ennals, and Frontier sustainability specialist, Rob Nightingale.

Jim will cover the headlines of SFI 2024 before chairing the panel, as James shares his experience and perspective of agri-environment policy to date. Charlie will offer her insight as an advisor supporting growers in Lincolnshire and North Norfolk, while Rob will discuss how data generated insights can aid practical decision making across all parts of the supply chain.

In another session taking place on day one of the event, Jim will also sit alongside farmer, Tom Jewers and 2022 Nuffield Scholar, Toby Simpson, on a panel chaired by head of sustainable farming and knowledge exchange at the Allerton Project, Joe Stanley. Together the group will talk all things cover crops, including establishment, purpose and use, agri-environment schemes, multi-species mixes and options that deliver for soil health.

Visitors to Groundswell can find Kings Crops, Frontier Agriculture and SOYL on stand DF D40.

The event takes place 26th – 27th June at Lannock Manor Farm, Hitchin SG4 7EE and tickets are available at www.groundswellag.com 

Programme of activity

1. Cover crop plot tours – stand D40 in the Demo Field

  • 26th June: 11.00am and 3.00pm
  • 27th June: 10.00am and 2.00pm

2. Panel sessions

Cover Cropping – Successes and Failures

26th June | The Study | 1.15pm – 1.40pm 

SFI 2024 – is it food vs. the environment or two sides of the same coin?

27th June | Grass Tent | 3.00pm – 3.55pm 

3. BASIS Knowledge Trail

Visitors to the Kings, Frontier and SOYL stand can participate in the BASIS Knowledge Trail and earn points for completing a series of questions.


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