As part of a wider project on pollinators, the NFU has been working with the University of Huddersfield to develop an online survey into how farmers and the wider public value the way the countryside looks and how it affects what they do out in those landscapes.
With Brexit on the horizon there are a number of ongoing discussions of what farm payments and policy are going to look like in the future. Much of these discussions are leaning towards the countryside delivering more than just food and farming but environmental and social goods. There’s a lot of research out there on how farms can be managed for wildlife and climate change but a lot less on what values people place on the way farming changes the look of the landscape. Consequently, there’s a risk that these new policies may be made on what policy makers think people want from the landscape rather than what they actually want.
The few studies out there show that the wider public have a very different image of what they want the countryside to look like than farmers but this is only very light touch and quite old research now. As a result of this, there’s a risk that we end up pushing towards farmland that goes against our values as a farming community or, on the other hand, we may miss an opportunity to get the public more engaged with British farming.
The whole survey is completely anonymous and only takes 10mins to complete. The more responses the better, so please get friends and family to take it as well!
When the results are in, the NFU will be involved with other organisations concerned with countryside management, so we can provide evidence based advise to policy makers on how any future proposals may affect the farming community.