Somerset farmers can now bid in the biggest auction to boost agriculture, environment and reduce flooding. The Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group Southwest has organized an online auction. To bid for the auction, farmers are required to submit works that meet the auction’s aims. The online event is scheduled to run from Monday 1st March to Monday 15th March at somerset.naturebid.org.uk.
The SRA chair Cllr David Hall said that this will be the fourth auction and that farmers will have to choose from over 12 different measures. He added that moves such as grassland slitting aerates the ground and improve the soil.
The total funding for this year is £60,000 of which £40, 00 will come from the SRA while £20, 000 will come from Bristol water. The money from Bristol water will serve Westbury-Sub-Mendip including Chewton Mendip, Wedmore, Wookey, and Chedar. Another part that the money will serve is the Egford Borehole catchment near Frome. The main aim of Bristol water is to reduce the running off of nutrients and soil into reservoirs and watercourses.
The farmers are required to select the places where they think will benefit from the selected activities and bid for the grants. The bids will then be checked by FWAG SW and grants will be offered to the best ideas.
Bristol Water’s catchment strategy manager-Matt Pitts says that the collaboration of farmers, FWAG, and Somerset Rivers Authority will be a game-changer. Horner Farm’s Holly Purdey commends the previous winners of the bids citing that they have planted around 1,000 meters of hedgerow to better the field layouts. She adds that managing rotational grazing and minimizing water run-off is now easy.
According to Richard Masters of Sharpshaw, online bidding is easy and fast and has helped him manage his grounds better. Since the main aim of NFM activities is to slow the flow of water down to river catchments, the bid will not be open to farmers from low-lying grounds.