Ian is a first generation tenant farmer at Hampden Bottom Farm a 435 ha farm on chalk and loam soils at 600m in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The farm is a fixed rotation of milling wheat, OSR and field beans with a flock of Herdwick sheep. He is passionate about environmental protection within the Chiltern Hills and promoting sustainable, commercial farming and integrated farm management. The farm has been in High Level Stewardship since 2006. Ian is enthusiastic about educating others in the work that farmers undertake to protect and support nature whilst producing sufficient high-quality food in an environmentally sustainable way. He regularly hosts visits for undergraduates at Reading University, local businesses, community interest groups, Young Farmers and overseas business and educational establishments on technical visits. Despite being a full-time, hands on, farmer he helps promote regenerative / conservation farming through active participation in national bodies and with local projects. An active advocate of how successful engagement and agricultural incentivisation schemes can deliver for regulators, society and the environment. He is a Board member for the Chilterns Conservation Board and BASE-UK, NFU delegate for the Bucks, Berks and Oxon area, founder and chair of the Lottery Funded Chiltern Cluster Farm initiative and a well-established local agricultural society. He is a full member of BASIS Professional Register and a LEAF demonstration farmer. He has received the Farmers Weekly Countryside Farmer of the Year award, runner up in the Silver Lapwing award and in 2020, a finalist in the Soil Farmer of the Year. To quote President Franklin D Roosevelt 1937 “The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself”. Ian is ardent that he will do what he can to improve the state of soils.
Diversity in your cover crop selection is a generally seen as a positive for your soils and the environment but what evidence do we have to back this up. This session will look at the scientific evidence and practical on-farm experience of the benefits (and pitfalls) of multi-species cover crops.