Farm leaders have reiterated the need for growers to become actively involved in the Campaign for the Farmed Environment.

Turning awareness into activity on the ground was the crucial challenge for the next 12 months, the NFU’s Andrea Graham told a breakfast meeting of 200 farmers.

With 13,000 entry level stewardship schemes up for renewal in 2010, Ms Graham said there was a big opportunity, with farmers needing to look to new “unpopular in-field management options” to replace points previously earned from activities such as management plans which will no longer qualify.

According to Natural England more than 6000 farmers have already indicated they will renew their ELS schemes this year.

But a CFE survey sent out in November and February had caused confusion among growers since it excluded gathering ELS information which would contribute to the campaign.

“ELS activity is not being ignored,” Ms Graham said. “Natural England already has that information. This survey is purely to pick up activity outside formal agri-environment schemes.”

Farmers also expressed reservations that the campaign was not crediting all relevant on-farm activity, with Suffolk grower James Black expressing disappointment at not receiving recognition for no longer planting energy crops on his set-aside land.

The NFU also said it would raise with DEFRA farmer concerns that they were being surveyed by holding number rather than the Single Business Identifier (SBI) used for ELS.

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