In order to help farmers appreciate and adhere to the Fair to Nature protocol, and to develop an understanding of the wider value of this system of food production in terms of marketing, public perception and wildlife conservation, attendance at an induction training course is required as part of the approval process for new prospective Fair to Nature farmers. As well as helping become compliant with the protocol, the training provides information on wider issues such as agri-environment schemes and agri-politics.
The course comprises:
- An introduction to the Fair to Nature scheme – the value of marketing wildlife to the wider public
- A review of current and expected changes in agriculture and environmental policy
- A review of the science underpinning the protocol
- An introduction to DEFRA’s Environmental Stewardship Schemes
- The location, creation and management of wildlife habitats
- Combining policy and practice on the farm
- Compiling the Farm Environment Plan
The course carries continuing professional development (CPD) points (BASIS & NRoSO). A certificate is issued on completion of the induction course and this should be kept on file for inspection at the annual Fair to Nature audit. After attending the induction course, new farmers complete a probationary period of 2 years. This is to give farmers an appropriate amount of time to successfully establish the habitats. However, the input requirements must be met from the start of the membership period. During the probationary period the crops, grain and any produce is classified as Fair to Nature, whilst the farm is continually evaluated. A production contract can be revoked at any time during this process if a farmer shows insufficient commitment to the scheme or does not comply with the protocol.
The initial training will be followed up with bi-annual regional events for farmer members to meet with Fair to Nature team and discuss relevant issues. Attendance at one regional event per year is a minimum requirement of continued membership.