Cound Brook (Catchment Sensitive Farming Project)
The Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) programme gives farmers access to advice and financial incentives to help reduce diffuse water pollution from agriculture. The Cound is a high priority catchment situated south of Shrewsbury; it suffers from high levels of Metaldehyde and has issues with other pesticides and sediment. The CSF programme in this catchment (previously delivered by Promar) started in 2012 with an enthusiastic launch event and formation of a steering group. The programme included training events, workshops and pesticide training as well as a one to one farm visits with specialist advisors.
From May 2014, Sara Cragg will deliver this programme as the Catchment Officer representing a partnership between Severn Rivers Trust, Severn Trent, Natural England and with the assistance of the Environment Agency. Sara has a similar role in the South Shropshire Rea Brook. Sara will be working closely with farmers, landowners and the wider community to find ways of improving productivity and river quality.
Sara has helped to score 19 applications from farmers for improvements under the Capital Grant Scheme. Most applications aim to separate clean and dirty water in yards; reduce faecal contamination of watercourses and reduce sediment, pesticide and nutrient losses from agricultural holdings. As the scheme is oversubscribed across the country, only those applications within the target area and of high priority are likely be offered a grant. Sara has contacted local farmers and agents to resolve queries with applications and grant claims from the previous year.
Sara has been meeting key people in Promar, the CSF partnership, local farmers, agronomists and others. A range of activities are planned for the catchment aimed at reducing pesticide and nutrient losses into watercourses. A Metaldehyde hotspot project will include an event to raise awareness and further farm visits. There will also be a nutrient management workshop and farm visits focussed on nutrient management planning and soil analysis. Through the project Sara will continue to provide free farm visits with specialist advisors and training in pesticide handling and application.
The established steering group will be meeting shortly for feedback the successes of the capital grant scheme, and discuss with members how to build on this in the future.
For further information and advice, please contact Sara Cragg, the Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer.
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