Southern Water staff event

Farmers have a huge role to play in protecting and improving the water environment and this is particularly relevant for us in the South East. 70% of the land in this region is farmed, supporting around 50,000 jobs and adding £1.4 billion to the regional economy. Approximately 30% of our regional water bodies are affected by pollution from rural areas.

Tom Ormesher (National Farmers Union) presented his research project on water risk and food production (report not yet published). The key areas of investigation are:

  • Water risk management interventions practiced in a commercial farming environment
  • Collective responses practised by farmers and the supply chain
  • Incentives and wider contributing factors that influence risk decision making in the supply chain.

The project draws on a series of interviews with farmers and wider supply chain in the USA, New Zealand and Europe.

Tim Stephens (Wessex Water presented his research project on how farmers can keep nutrients out of water. He recommended 3 key steps:

  1. Calculate N&P surplus for reach enterprise
  2. Improve the efficiency of nutrient use
  3. Build soil carbon

Other Nuffield Farming Scholarship reports can be found here