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FARM AS IF YOU MEAN TO LIVE FOREVER

Sustainability Study Launch

Suffolk farmers have been the first to trial a new method for appraising
sustainability – The results of the Suffolk Farm Sustainability Study
will be on display today in the Diversification Tent at the Suffolk Show.

The appraisal system was originally developed by the Environment Agency,
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and English Nature under the
chairmanship of Nicholas Woolley, a Chartered Surveyor from Freckenham.
Neil Ridley of Otley College chose to trial the system further in
Suffolk. ” I like this system because it was backed by these respected
bodies and because it is independent of supermarkets” Says Mr Ridley,
who co-ordinated the study. “This is the first time that the system has
been trailed over a number of farms and we have been pleased with the
responses that we have received from farmers and other interested
organisations”

Six Suffolk farmers participated in the study during February and March
this year. The farmers then attended a workshop in May along with
interested stakeholders and sponsors, including the RSPB, GO-East, FWAG
(Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group) Suffolk Development Agency and ADER
(Agricultural Development in the Eastern Region).

The need for whole farm management plans has been mooted by the Curry
Report into Food & Farming and is also an essential part of the
voluntary pesticide code. The study found that this system could indeed
fulfil these needs, after minor alteration.

The NFU, CLA and LEAF have also expressed great interest in the project.
“If we combine this enthusiasm together with the support already shown
by the sponsors, there is potential to take this study further and
provide real benefits for farmers and people” says Mr Woolley.

The study was conducted by Risk & Policy Analysts and Woolley & Company.
To find out more visit us in the Diversification Pavilion (Stand 245) at
the Suffolk Show. Copies of the study report are also available directly
from Neil Ridley 01473 785543 or Nicholas Woolley 01638 721540.

Otley College Press | 7 June 2002

June 6th, 2002
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