Agriculture minister visits Co-op farm at Coldham

AGRICULTURE minister Jim Paice was in Coldham as Britain’s largest farmer, Co-operative Farms, showed it was flying the flag for environmental stewardship.

Co-operative Farms has signed up to the Entry Level Scheme (ELS) with Natural England for a further five years. The scheme supports farmers in making environmental improvements to their land.

During Friday’s visit Mr Paice said: “This is great news for the countryside, the farming industry and the Campaign for the Farmed Environment. In renewing their ELS agreements, the Co-operative Farms are demonstrating their commitment to sustainable farming, protecting the environment and are to be commended for setting a great example for the agricultural industry.”

Co-operative Farms has seen measurable results from the work it has already done on its farms as part of ELS, which has included reducing the use of pesticide and leaving land uncultivated to provide food and habitats for wildlife such as butterflies, bees and birds.

Signing up to the ELS for a further five years will increase the amount of land in agreements on Co-operative Farms to more than 6,500 hectares.