NATURE-FRIENDLY Welsh farmers joined protests at the recent Oxford Real Farming Conference calling for changes to Michael Gove's Agriculture Bill.

The Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) is calling for the Bill to set ambitious minimum standards to prevent a minority ignoring the environmental impact of their farming methods, which would threaten long-term food security.

On the first anniversary of the NFFN’s official launch, the 2,050-strong farmer-led network congregated at the Oxford conference to urge the Secretary of State to listen to British farmers.

The NFFN called on the Government to establish an independent regulator that:

  • Sets clear minimum standards to safeguard, maintain and enhance animal welfare, the farming landscape and the agricultural industry.
  • Improves sustainability across the industry and reverses the declines in natural resources and ecosystems, which have been an unintended consequence of previous regulatory regimes.
  • Publishes a report every five years on progress towards meeting government priorities and targets and progressively raises standards.

Targets - including air quality, water quality and soil health - will act as an incentive to those that are currently failing to deliver public goods and make British agriculture a world exemplar of sustainable and nature-friendly farming.

Tony Davies, Welsh chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network, said: “Nature friendly farming provides my family with a financially viable and sustainable business.

"I am concerned about climate change and the impact that farming can have on our landscape, so we have to make sure farmers have a positive impact on the environment at the same time as producing food.”

An independent regulator needs to take a holistic approach to farm regulation and should support farmers to move towards nature-friendly farming practices with high environmental, production, animal health and welfare standards, according to the NFFN.

Since the launch of the NFFN one year ago, the network has established itself as a united political voice for farmers who want to deliver rapid progress towards a future where nature and sustainable farming thrives, and farms are resilient to climate change.

NFFN is supported by a range of environmental and conservation charities including Soil Association, National Trust, Woodland Trust, RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, Bat Conservation Trust, Buglife and Plantlife.

Farmers and members of the public can join the NFFN by visiting