Advisory group appeals for financial help

The beleaguered Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group has appealed for financial support from the industry and the farming community to enable it to survive as a national body.

FWAG went into administration on Thursday (17 November) after government spending cuts in the comprehensive spending review in autumn to its environmental funding finally took their toll.

As a result, up to 120 staff were informed by letter that they were facing redundancy.

On Friday (18 November) Baker Tilly was appointed to FWAG to manage the administration while a process is being sought to secure the future of the businesses. 

The closure of FWAG as a nationally co-ordinated body has prompted discussions among farming groups across the country, including Yorkshire, Suffolk and Wales, to carry on its ethos and set up their own regional organisations. 

Before the charity entered administration, Philip Cook was appointed as its new chairman along with a group of trustees.

In the statement released by FWAG, Mr Cook said he was committed to supporting the farm members, employees and all regional and county initiatives.

But he stressed that if the farming industry and farming community wanted FWAG to continue as a national organisation it would need financial help.

Appealing for help, Mr Cook said: “We can quickly commence discussions with the administrators and re-establish a solid, central platform together with delivery enterprises in the regions. 

“Through this, we will continue to build on the values and principles established 42 years ago to ensure farming and nature conservation remains a sustainable partnership.”

The need to protect the environment alongside a farming system that was financially viable for the long term is as great now as it ever was, he added.

“FWAG has consistently delivered workable solutions to the problems which farming and the environment have encountered and our balanced approach is still sought after by farmers and government alike.”

Before its closure, FWAG was an independent charity providing environmental and conservation advice to farmers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Last year, FWAG was active on over 9,000 farms.