Board and Advisors

The Environmental Farmers Group meets with Lord Benyon

Gavin Fauvel, Director, Cranborne Farms

Gavin Fauvel

“At Cranborne, we take our responsibility to protect nature seriously. We strive to balance the need to grow food and feed with the importance of improving the environment. We recognise that, as farmers, we have a unique part to play in protecting our soils; spare land for important species recovery, especially pollinators and ground-nesting birds; and reducing pollution.

“By co-operating at scale with our neighbours in the Martin Down Farmer Cluster, we’ve seen real benefits across a wider landscape. Now, with the country’s eyes on reducing carbon emissions, we can help others meet national targets: benefitting wildlife on our farms and providing an opportunity to trade. By working as part of a larger collection of clusters, the Environmental Farmers Group can bring even greater scale and impact to delivering these “services” – we believe it is that ability (and ease) to trade at a scale, provided by the EFG, that will be attractive to those seeking to achieve biodiversity net gain. All the while, our key driver is nature-friendly food production.”


Hallam Mills, Bisterne Estate

Hallam Mills

“The Bisterne Estate forms a natural bridge between the western edge of the New Forest and the River Avon. The variety of habitats is astounding, especially as the soil is acidic, poor and sandy. For a long time, we’ve been making room for nature by farming unintensively and encouraging the rough bits of the heaths, woods, ponds, river meadows, arable and dairy pasture. We try to provide for ourselves and import as little as possible, with field rotations between dairy and arable. The breeding lapwings, redshanks and curlews take pride of place, with barn-owls and now increasingly bats making their appearance in numbers. We work closely with the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, to whom we owe much science and success.

“Joining the Environmental Farmers Group was a very natural and necessary step for the estate. Natural because the ethos of the EFG is to improve the wildlife and flora around us at a large scale and with impact that lasts; necessary because the large and complex projects necessary to make the most of the new environmental schemes demand very careful contractual arrangements, a proper scientific base and the ability to manage 30 year obligations – more than a generation.

“I doubt whether we could achieve these goals without the cooperation of the many members of EFG and the Lower Avon farmer cluster. It is an organisation whose creation is so timely and necessary.”


Tim Palmer, retired Dorset farmer and Chairman of Martin Down Farmer Cluster

Tim Palmer

“I want to make sure that farmers get a fair crack of the whip by working together to form a powerful presence in the new world of Natural Capital trading. Scale counts, and the EFG means even the smallest farmer trading at scale across the entirety of the Avon River catchment and beyond.”


Robert Shepherd, Allenford Farms

Robert Shepherd

Robert is the managing partner of Allenford Farms, an 800ha mixed farming partnership. He is lead farmer of the first Farmer Cluster Group. Robert served as an army officer in the Light Infantry and Special Forces. He is Course Director of the IAgrM Leadership Development Programme. He is the Hampshire chair of the NFU Mutual Regional Advisory Board. Robert is a past vice-chairman of Wiltshire Grain. He recently served for six years as an AHDB Pork Board member. He completed the IAgrM Leadership Development Programme in 2008.


Colin Smart

Colin Smart

“Having spent a lifetime in agriculture and the past 24 years in the farm machinery business as a John Deere dealer covering West Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset and East Devon, I have always loved this part of the country. On hearing the great work that the Environmental Farmers Group is doing, I felt I could support farmers and our beautiful landscape for the future. 

“Many farmers are going to find the economics of farming difficult beyond the reduction of the BPS. This is a great opportunity for farmers and landowners to own their futures by controlling and trading their Natural Capital. The EFG can, through trading some Natural Capital, help negate this shortfall in their income, whilst creating a very positive impact on the rich and varied landscape in our beautiful part of England. 

“My role on the board is to work with farmers and encourage them to join the EFG and participate in this exciting new world of Natural Capital trading in the safety of a cooperative run by farmers for the benefit of farmers.”


Josh Stratton, Wiltshire farmer

Josh Stratton

“The EFG initiative is exactly what farms like ours have been waiting for. We know how valuable our natural capital resources are, and this is the perfect way to partner with developers and industry, and to realise a fair and long-term income for these high-quality assets while at the same time improving the conservation offering from our land.”


Christopher Sparrow, Managing Director, Recce Rural

Christopher Sparrow

“I have been drawn to support the EFG because it neatly combines two recent professional interests of mine, those being management of a substantive property portfolio (as Head of the Duchy of Lancaster’s 50,000-acre rural estate) and supporting the strategic direction of a farmer-driven co-operative. As a team, we have already identified and explored several strategic parallels, which has assisted us to hit the ground running in terms of corporate governance and forward business planning during this crucial start-up phase. I am really pleased to see and have the chance to work with farmers taking these proactive steps at this time of significant statutory, commercial and environmental change.”


Matt Fry, Wiltshire farmer and contract farmer

Matt Fry

“As the managing partner in the family farming business, I believe that the EFG can deliver for the environment and financially for our members whose efforts to capture nutrients, carbon and improve and increase biodiversity need to be rewarded to replace the BPS. I see no conflict between production of high quality food and production of environmental outcomes that society values.”


Teresa Dent, Chief Executive, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

Having taken a degree in Agriculture at Reading University, Teresa joined land and estate agents Strutt & Parker as a farming consultant. She was a partner with the firm for 13 years. She joined what was then the Game Conservancy, and is now the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) as Chief Executive at the end of 2001. In this role, she has been able to combine her practical and business experience of farming and land management with the conservation prescriptions and policy produced by GWCT’s scientists.

Teresa believes in practical, pragmatic conservation that finds space for wildlife alongside economic land uses such as farming, fishing, shooting and forestry. She works with a number of farmer groups operating at a landscape-scale to improve wildlife conservation, and helped set up the only farmer-led Nature Improvement Area in 2012. Since then she has helped GWCT create the concept of Farmer Clusters; groups of farmers working together, voluntarily, at landscape-scale to deliver nature conservation on their farms. There are now nearly 100 Farmer Clusters in England after three years of funding from Natural England.

Teresa is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, was a board member of Natural England (the government agency for nature conservation in England) between 2014 and 2020, is an honorary member of the National Gamekeepers Association and the Grasshoppers Farmer Group, and was awarded a CBE for services to wildlife conservation in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.