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Event Details

Farming for Foresters

11/06/2024 – 11/09/2024
Online Event

With one third of UK woodlands on farms, and the huge opportunities that agroforestry brings, it is more important than ever that foresters have a better understanding of farmers and farming. These sessions will enable members to understand how best to integrate and better manage trees in the farmed landscape from a position of understanding farm systems and enterprises.

The first session will be a comprehensive introduction to farming enterprises and how trees can help meet farm challenges. Following on from this, the second session will take a deep dive into farm businesses and how to pay for trees on farms. The final webinar will focus on designing the farmed landscape. All three webinars will have a Q&A session to ensure your questions and ideas are responded to.

Thanks to the Forestry Skills Forum for contributing funding towards this series.

An All Access Ticket provides access to all sessions in the series.

The programme for each webinar will be:

  • 09:15 - 10:15 - Presentation
  • 10:15 - 10:30 - Break
  • 10:30 - 11:30 - Presentation
  • 11:30 - 11:45 - Break
  • 11:45 - 12:15 - Presentation
  • 12:15 - 12:45 - Q&A and wrap-up


There will also be a farm walk in the Welshpool area in October as part of this series. This is an optional extra and bookings will be taken separately - stay tuned for more details.

Session One: 11 June

Comprehensive introduction to farming enterprises and how trees can help meet farm challenges

The first webinar will provide a comprehensive and very practical introduction to farming enterprises covering dairy, pigs, beef, sheep, poultry, horticulture and arable and systems with a focus on organic and regenerative. We will cover key factors in decision making (e.g. land ownership and economics) and the practical challenges that farmers are facing. The introduction of the whole farm system will highlight the functional benefits of that approach across a landscape. Lastly, we will focus on how trees need to interact with the farming system, an overview of where the best fit is with different enterprises and how trees can help meet farm challenges.

 Session Two: 9 July

Deep dive into farm businesses and how to pay for trees on farms

The second webinar will be a deep dive into farm businesses and enterprises with detailed presentation and opportunities for discussion, centring around the specific devolved agri-environment schemes, the grants available for trees and how those can be stacked with farming options. The session will also provide an introduction to agronomy and arable cropping, the value of trees in integrated pest management, but also on the threats of certain species and species selection. Livestock enterprises and the value of trees (bedding, feed, shade and shelter) will be another major area of focus, as will orchards, fruit and vegetables.

Session Three: 11 September

Designing the farmed landscape

The final webinar of the series will focus on designing the farmed landscape. The aim is to understand how to maximise the use of new and existing trees, hedgerows and woodland features on-farm to maximise benefits for the farm system, the landscape and the environment. This session will highlight how trees are being valued in carbon and environmental baselining tools, discussing alternative uses for timber on farms, farm-relevant woodland planning tools and the Whole Farm Tree Plan approach based on a detailed case study. This webinar will help you to design planting and maintenance schemes to support a specific farm’s needs and enable you to develop arguments and support for increased on-farm tree planting and sustainable management.


Session One & Two

Jerry Alford - Ex-Farmer & Senior Farming Advisor, Soil Association

Jerry runs the Soil Association’s Future Farm Resilience programme, focussing on advising organic and regen farmers on SFI’s options and developments and provides much one-to-one advice. His experience is in arable and mixed farming having run the family farm in Devon for 25 years. The farm was initially a dairy farm eventually converting to organic and being run as a beef,  sheep and arable unit. Jerry is interested in a systems approach to farming, and looks at farms as a whole system rather than just a mix of enterprises or a series of crops in rotation.

Kate Still - Head of Farming, Soil Association

Kate is the Soil Association’s Head of Farming and an animal health and welfare specialist. For over a decade at the Soil Association she has developed welfare outcome assessment protocols (e.g. AssureWel), delivered training programmes and provided advice to producers, inspectors/assessors, vets and farm advisors. She manages a UK wide team of farm advisors and has led a wide range of farming programmes focusing on transitioning farmers to agroecology and reducing antibiotic use. She represents the Soil Association on the Farm Animal Welfare Forum and sits on a number of expert panels including Laying Hen Welfare Forum and Global Food Partners Scientific Advisory Committee as well as advising DEFRA on Welfare Payment structure and welfare outcome assessment. Her previous career has included practical farming, farm business consultancy and advising farmers in wild plant and habitat conservation.

Session Three

Jerry Alford - Ex-Farmer & Senior Farming Advisor, Soil Association

See above

Tom Ottaway MICFor - Farm Woodland Advisor, Soil Association

Tom is a Chartered Forester and has a distinguished background in woodland management having worked at the Woodland Trust and Tilhill. He is delivering an innovation project trialling the Whole Farm Tree Plan approach which aims to provide a new entry point for engaging with farmers on woodland management based around benefits to their farm system of managing existing and new farm woodland and agroforestry systems, as well as the wider tree resources on the farm.

Kate Still - Head of Farming, Soil Association

See above

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Please note: If you are booking for other members, it is helpful if you have their membership number(s).