The achievements of Corteva’s landmark sustainability programme, Resilient & Ready, was celebrated in December at an event attended by representatives from across the supply chain and government.
Delivered by environmental charity Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF), the programme is now at the end of its second year of helping four farms from across England and Scotland become fitter for the future.
The event was due to take place in the House of Lords in London but moved online as it became clear that the covid risk was too great.
The change of format didn’t affect the execution of the event as Lord Ewan Cameron welcomed 70 guests to hear from the farmers and the support team behind them.
It has been an exhilarating journey for the businesses who are all at different stages of their evolution but all trying to deal with the same external influences affecting their profitability.
Front and centre of the conversation was the environment. As the UK moves away from the Basic Payment Scheme which has provided area-based financial support to farms, each of the farms is examining how new-look environmental schemes could work in tandem with food production.
In Aberdeenshire, Craig and Claire Grant, who have a large-scale egg production enterprise alongside growing combinable crops, outlined how they were actively trailing alternative protein sources for their hens by growing beans for the first time in 2021.
They estimate that they can reduce their reliance on imported soya by 50% in five years if they can collaborate with neighbouring farmers to scale up pulse production.
Just 30 minutes south, Ben Lowe and Harriet Ross are three years into their farming journey but have scaled up massively since becoming involved in the Resilient & Ready Programme.
Building on their first farm tenancy, they have now completed the succession process to take over Harriet’s family farm as well as buying a pig enterprise nearby earlier in 2021.
In England, Nick Down has reduced his horsepower in a bid to become more efficient, while also entering a new Countryside Stewardship agreement which has seen a significant acreage taken out of food production and into benefitting the environment and biodiversity.
Nearby, in Hampshire, Andy Bason is keen to see what agroforestry can deliver to the farm and will shortly be planting his first trees in strips across one of his arable fields.
His ambition is to see what benefits trees can bring to the field while utilising the fruit they produce to sell produce such as sauces and jams from the farm.
Giles Field-Rayner, UK Business Development Manager at Corteva Agriscience, said: “What the Resilient & Ready programme aims to do is to inspire those in agriculture to look broadly at where they are and where they want to be.
“The challenges are multiple and whether its legislation, farming policy or the changing markets, Corteva is continuously reviewing & adapting to ensure we provide growers with the tools that are fit for purpose, sustainable and will stand the test of time.”
“This was a fantastic celebration of the collective achievements of the team, and we look forward to being able to continue the conversation it has started.”
As this event was moved online, you can view a recording of the session using the button below.