To be or not to be

Never fear, I’m not venturing into Shakespeare here. Not only are my writing skills lacking, but I can’t see Direct Driller ever making it to the stage either. However, I am questioning the desire to be labelled a “regenerative farmer”. Do you want or need to be labelled at all? This is not quite weighing up life and death, as hamlet does in his soliloquy, but it is important to know what you want to be. Because wants and needs on farms soon become costs and profits.

Understanding your journey is a critical step to profitability and sustainability at a farm level. When I read or listen to our Farmer Focus writers, they often seem clear on this path. This has led the likes of Andy Cato to set up a whole brand and ethos to go alongside their beliefs, allowing other farmers to join them. Tim Parton is part of the Green Farm Collective (not to be confused with Red Tractor’s disastrous Greener Farm Commitment).

They have set out their stall and now have put measures alongside that and you must be able to measure something to make it happen. Now, you can be a Wildfarmed farmer or a GFC farmer,. you can have a label but what is the point of a label unless it benefits your business? These labels can come with benefits. All farmers in the UK can benefit from SFI payments from the government to add biodiversity to their land.

Thus moving them all along a regen journey and that comes with income. There is definitely a reason to make this step but does doing SFI make you a “regen” farmer? Some might say yes, some will say no. For me, it will depend on the farm and farmer, whether they see SFI as part of a wider journey, or just a replacement for BPS.