Landscape-scale conservation management - farmer groups
With Marlborough Downs farmer Chris Musgrave, Black Sheep founder Jemma Batten was responsible for the conception, development and management of the original farmer-led landscape scale conservation project under the Nature Improvement Area initiative 2012-15. The Marlborough Downs project is still going strong, and Black Sheep consultants now also manage other farmer-led groups including those based in the Pewsey Downs, and on Salisbury Plain. Some of these receive Defra funding, while others are wholly privately funded.
It is our experience that group ownership of a project, its targets, challenges and achievements, delivered via farmer-led collaboration leads to far greater and more wide-reaching environmental and community benefits. We are confident that the potential for a long term legacy for such projects is significantly higher than for others which rely upon financial incentives rather than personal motivation. We are very proud that our approach has now been adopted by over 100 groups across England.