Our Story

In the context of the transition away from BPS subsidies, Minette Batters (NFU) and Teresa Dent (GWCT) brought together farmers from the Avon catchment to discuss how they could build on the local Farmer Clusters to put farmers in a stronger position to deliver environmental goods and services for fair reward.

The lead farmers and facilitators met to discuss forming a larger group and agreed the same vision and mission that EFG has today: that the farmers in the Avon Catchment take control of the future environmental agenda, group together at scale to deliver public goods; to ‘capture’ the funding that should be available in the future from ELMs, public funds and business.

A small Scoping Group of active local farmers is called together. This group concentrated on how biodiversity, nutrient and carbon trading markets could work alongside delivering cleaner water in the Avon, a reversal of biodiversity loss and net carbon zero farming by 2040.

With support from the GWCT team and the NFU, the Scoping Group held the first of a series of breakfast meetings with farmers to establish if there was sufficient support to form a farmer-owned, farmer-led cooperative, called the Environmental Farmers Group.

EFG was officially launched with an interview with Rob Shepherd (chairman) and Teresa Dent on Farming Today, a full page feature in Farmers Weekly and coverage in other farming press. The group began accepting members and working on environmental trading opportunities.

One year on and EFG reached over 100 subscibing Members covering over 45,000ha and completed its first major trade. The organisation began to expand into neighbouring catchments and receive interest from across the UK.