Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Integrating advice on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation into existing advice packages to achieve multiple wins - FF0204

Expected benefits
Defra is committed to the provision of a robust system of integrated advice to the farming industry. This will help to strengthen the ability of the farming sector to ensure a secure, resilient, environmentally and economically sustainable and healthy supply of food with improved standards of animal welfare. On completion of this study, farmers and their advisers will be better able to make balanced decisions that integrate and contribute to both economic and environmental objectives relevant to their business and motivation. This will be achieved though: i) access to integrated advisory protocols that allow farmers and advisers to determine and prioritise objectives relevant to their business; ii) identify opportunities for and promotion of means of achieving multiple (synergistic) outcomes; and iii) provision of a framework to support training and guidance needs and a legacy for its continued evolution.

Requirement for the research
The availability of high quality advice that helps farmers to meet publicly endorsed environmental and performance objectives has been a characteristic of the farming sector in England for many years. Nevertheless, a fragmented advisory landscape now exists, one which is of increasing concern to stakeholders. Research has suggested that perceived contradictions in government policy causes confusion among farmers and may act as a barrier to the uptake of improved farm management practices. A more integrated approach that addresses environmental issues alongside the business needs of farmers is expected to better meet both the needs of farmers as well as government’s policy objectives and to deliver improved value for money.

This study will bring together, and explicitly link, advice measures from nine key Defra policy objectives (climate change mitigation; climate change adaptation; nutrient management; water quality; soil quality; air quality; bio-diversity; farming competitiveness, performance and resilience; and environmental stewardship). Existing advice measures will be brought together into a series of protocols, along with associated adviser training that forges links between business performance and environmental sustainability.
The overall aim of this study is to develop a novel, farmer-focused approach to delivery of flexible, integrated advice that balances farm business objectives with Defra policy objectives and integrates measures to achieve multiple wins. This aim will be achieved through five objectives:
1) Sector specific integrated advice: to build on previous research and decision support tools to define sector specific integrated advisory packages (IAPs) that balance the above Defra policies with economic and environmental factors to deliver improved overall benefits to farm businesses and to society more generally;
2) Flexible advisory protocols: to involve farmers and advisers in assessing and refining the IAPs developed in WP1, and in trialling the design and delivery of advisory protocols ensure flexible combinations of IAPs that deliver locally optimised balanced outcomes with improved level of uptake by farmers through taking account of farmer behavioural types;
3) Design, develop and deliver flexible training courses for advisers: train advisers in the approach to integration and its delivery to target farms using the protocols developed in WP2 in a Pilot study in three selected study zones;
4) Monitoring and evaluation: to monitor and evaluate the proposed processes and outcomes to ensure a lasting legacy of improved environmental performance, including reduced emissions; and
5) Legacy: to sustain and broaden the value of the Pilot study and provide for a ‘legacy’ of more integrated policy advice that contributes towards Defra’s strategic priorities, beyond the life of this study.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : FF0204 - Final report - v3   (1504k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2012

Cost: £578,553
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Agriculture and Climate Change              
Behaviour change              
Social Research