Q&A

The major questions farmers have asked us are set out below. If you don’t find the answer you need, please contact us.

If I’d like express interest in joining EFG, what do I do?

You can fill in our Expression of Interest form here.

How do I get more details on the financial benefits?

Contact us and we’ll answer your question by email or call you back, as you wish.

Tell me briefly again, what’s in it for me?

For a small subscription fee, you and all the other ‘Cluster’ farmers in the River Avon catchment area will gain access to larger, quicker and better trades. We will develop a business model that recognises active participants in the large scheme and rewards them for it whilst returning a smaller amount to those other farmers that do not actively trade.

We believe that joining the Environmental Farmers Group will be a wise choice. It will give a platform in which all of us learn quickly about what’s going on in the area, and it will provide knowledge of how markets for carbon and biodiversity credits are developing, which are confusing and chaotic at the moment. We also seek to collect and organise as much information as we can about new developments and funding.

How does EFG fit in with the well-established existing Farmer Clusters?

The existing Clusters and their facilitators are the local enhancers and guardians of the environment, as expressed in their everyday farming activities, and in their chosen E/HLS and CSS schemes. Soon we will have the three tiers of Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes along with numerous grant schemes. Membership of EFG would not affect or impair farmers’ engagement with these schemes, although the EFG cooperative network might well enhance the ability to contact each other on major landscape-scale projects.

Does joining EFG leave me free to do what I want with the new Environmental Land Management schemes?

Yes, as an individual farmers you are free to apply to future ELM schemes. However, there may be advantages in applying either as a Farmer Cluster, or through EFG. This will become clearer when the detailed schemes are published. We hope EFG will be able to positively influence the Local Nature Strategies that will be drawn up. Defra is supportive of ‘blended finance’ i.e. environmental outcomes being funded through a combination of ELMs and options like environmental trades.

Are there any constraints?

For the business model to work efficiently, farmers would commit only to doing deals with outside entities through EFG. This is similar to grain cooperatives, with similar advantages of scale and negotiating power. It’s attractive for people who need environmental goods from farmers only to deal with one point of contact, with the economies of scale that will result from this. There may be a size of deal below a certain cut-off point that remains local.

Can I join EFG later – say in a year’s time?

Yes, of course, but the terms may be less favourable.