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Stackyard News Jun 2012

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New Natural England Team Strengthens Focus on Farming Sector

Natural England, the Government’s nature conservation advisor, is strengthening its commitment to working with the farming sector with the appointment of Geoff Sansome as Director of Land Management for the South of England.

Geoff Sansome's family have been Worcestershire farmers
for over 200yrs

Geoff Sansome

Ian Fugler will be taking on a similar role for the North of England and will also have a specific responsibility for leading Natural England’s work in the uplands.

With the current discussions around the future of the industry, CAP negotiations, food security, upland land management and sustainable intensification there has never been a more vital time for Natural England to ensure that it is working closely with, listening to and supporting the farming industry.

Geoff Sansome comes from farming stock and is actively involved in the running of a family mixed farm at Hawford, near Claines in Worcestershire, where the family have farmed for nearly 200 years. Geoff has more than 30 years of experience in advising farmers as both an agronomist and environmentalist. He was with ADAS for 20 years, before joining Natural England in 2006. He is an Agricultural graduate of the University of Wales and a Nuffield Farming Scholar. With his first hand experience, Geoff is very familiar with the day to day practical issues faced by land management and agri businesses. Geoff will be one of the judges for this year’s Farmers Weekly Awards.

Geoff added: “As well as their main role as food producers, England’s farmers are the irreplaceable stewards of the land, shaping landscapes and delivering many public benefits. Alongside ensuring that the most important wildlife and conservation areas in the south of England are well looked after, my priority is to continue to build effective relationships with partners, landowners and local communities in a way that helps deliver the ambitions laid out in the government’s Natural Environment White Paper.”

Ian Fugler’s career has involved working in the farming sector from Cornwall to Cumbria. After working on a farm in Cornwall, he joined MAFF in the mid 1980s and was appointed as Deputy and then Regional Director in Defra’s former northern region. Ian joined Natural England from the Rural Development Service in 2006. He was appointed as Director of Land Management for Natural England in April 2011 and from 1 June 2012 is heading up Natural England’s work across the north and in the English uplands. Ian married into a northern farming family and now lives on a small upland farm near Brampton in Cumbria with his wife and two sons.

Ian said: “I want to ensure that Natural England strengthens its working relationships with those who own and actively manage the uplands, by providing them with clarity on our role and remit. If they’re going to be successful and support a viable business then the prescriptions we develop in the uplands must reflect the needs of well managed moorlands and good husbandry within the farm business, as well as delivering conservation objectives and public benefits. The North of England is now home to me and my family, so I’m very passionate about the area and excited to be taking this role in leading our work in the north.”

Almost 6.2million hectares of farmland (67% of the available farmland in England) are under one of the agri-environment schemes managed by Natural England and produce a wide range of benefits – food and fuel, wildlife, water, and woodlands, landscape and beautiful countryside.

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