Farmers in the Durham area are being encouraged to implement money-saving schemes that retain expensive soil, water and nutrients that would otherwise be lost into watercourses.
A partnership project has been set up between the Wear Rivers Trust (WRT) and the Environment Agency, who are looking at the issue with a particular focus on areas around the Pittington Beck, Old Durham Beck, Croxdale Beck, Lower River Browney and Brancepeth Beck.
On June 18, WRT is also holding a seminar at Brancepath Golf Club, informing farmers on how the trust can help them work up schemes and apply for a financial contribution to implement them.
The event will likewise include presentations from a range of farming and environmental speakers, including experts from Durham University, Natural England, the Campaign for the Farmed Environment and the Northumberland Rivers Trust who will discuss how similar schemes have been successfully implemented elsewhere in the North East.
WRT director Peter Nailon, said: “We have organised the seminar to demonstrate what sort of action farmers and land owners can take to reduce business risk and retain their most precious resources. We’ll be looking at the business benefits of retaining soil and nutrients on the farm and showcase some of the low cost practical actions that have been taken elsewhere.
“We will also discuss what is on offer for farms in the designated catchment areas, but this event is for anyone in the North East with an interest in land management, both from a farming and environmental point of view.”
The day will also include a tour of the nearby Little White Farm, which has taken action after suffering a number of flash floods.
Farmer David Jackson, who will explain the work he has undertaken, said: “We have had numerous flash floods since 2012 and I will be discussing how they have affected my farming practices.
“We have taken significant steps to keep nutrients on farm, which also protects the wildlife and watercourses.
“These include the use of field margins and buffer strips which themselves also offer environmental benefits, as well some other practical and easy to implement measures.”
Delegates will have the opportunity to ask questions about the schemes and learn how the Floods and Agriculture Risk Matrix (FARM tool), developed by Durham University, is being used to practically evaluate risk.
Spaces are limited, so those who wish to attend should book their places in advance by contacting WRT by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01388 488867.