05 October 2017
Jersey’s farmers are undergoing training this week to help them become accredited under the Island’s new rural support scheme.
A new Rural Economy Strategy 2017 – 2021 (RES) was introduced in Jersey in February. Farms receiving financial support from the States must be LEAF-accredited by 2019.
The LEAF Global Standard marque is farm assurance system showing that food has been grown sustainably with care for the environment. It is independently audited and incentivises businesses to farm in the most economically and environmentally sustainable way.
To help farmers become accredited, the Department of the Environment is offering training and support. Recent training has covered topics such as
- soil management and fertility
- crop health protection
- pollution control
- animal husbandry
- energy efficiency
- water management
- nature conservation
Dairy farmers were being trained earlier in the week, and arable farmers begin their training today (5 October). The Department of the Environment is funding the training and officers are attending the events, both to provide information and guidance and to learn from the LEAF trainers as they work together to deliver LEAF Marque accreditation across farming sectors.
Director of Rural Economy, Scott Meadows, said ‘The dairy industry has responded very positively to the LEAF scheme and there was a really good turnout for the training. Farmers are up to speed with a fair few of the requirements already because they had to comply with them under a previous rural support scheme, but LEAF covers subjects in more depth and has a broader set of requirements.
‘It gets farmers thinking about how they can farm to the best possible standards, with biodiversity, public goods, and sustainability being held in equal regard to profit.
I am really pleased to see such engagement and I know the arable businesses will work just as hard when they begin their training today.’
Chairman of the Jersey Milk Marketing Board, Andrew Le Gallais said ‘The dairy farmer members of the Jersey Milk Marketing Board were encouraged and enthused with the course. By achieving the Leaf marque standards, we can clearly demonstrate our positive environmental credentials. We are looking forward to enhancing these in the future by taking specific advice that will have a direct impact on the Island’s biodiversity, and our countryside.
Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Senator Lyndon Farnham said ‘I’m pleased to see the new scheme beginning to deliver what it set out to do - to grow the rural economy while safeguarding Jersey’s countryside and environment. To do this, we’ve had to rewrite the contract government has with farmers, and I think that it will produce a more sustainable future for the agricultural sector.'
Minister for the Environment, Deputy Steve Luce said ‘The new RES, with the LEAF accreditation approach, was designed to work hand-in-hand with the Action for Cleaner Water Group and the Water Plan. These well-thought out and linked up government strategies will deliver real benefits for the public with regard to drinking water quality and biodiversity protection, and everyone involved should be applauded for their first class co-operation and effort.’