LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), in association with ASDA – the British supermarket chain, and Molson Coors Brewing Company – the North American brewing company, launched on January 22 its ‘Simply Sustainable Water’ initiative with a free online resource for farmers. Following five years of extreme weather patterns, combined with a rapidly expanding world population, it is now recognised that farmers must manage water resources much more sustainably.
The Simply Sustainable Water resource outlines six simple steps to help farmers manage water more sustainably. The steps are based on LEAF’s Integrated Farm Management (IFM) whole farm approach. They cover ways to save water, protect water sources, soil management, drainage and monitoring. The resource also includes useful check-lists and a simple scoring system to enable farmers to get an idea of how well they are managing their water and identify areas for improvement.
Speaking at the launch, Caroline Drummond MBE, Chief Executive of LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), said, “Delivering sustainable food and farming is at the heart of what LEAF does and managing water wisely is an essential part of this. Increasingly, farmers will need to adapt to the huge variation and unpredictability of rainfall. Last year, UK farmers experienced one of their worst growing seasons in living memory, with severe droughts in many parts, followed by record amounts of rainfall. As part of our Integrated Farm Management (IFM) approach, we encourage all farmers to put effective, long term risk management strategies into practice to protect this precious resource. Simply Sustainable Water is a great starting point to help farmers do just this.”
Also speaking on the day was Chris Brown, ASDA’s Head of Ethical and Sustainable Sourcing, who explained why ASDA was supporting the initiative, “It is important that those who have either a large demand or highly public use of water are demonstrating good practice. We need to undertake the care and husbandry of water that this precious resource deserves. ASDA hopes that this new guidebook will be of significant assistance to farmers in meeting this challenge.”
Martin Coyle, Customer Director, Molson Coors Brewing Company, added, “Through our Growers Group, which provides us with 30,000 tonnes of British barley a year, we know just how important water management is to protect yield and quality of this important ingredient. As weather patterns change, and extremes of excess or drought become more frequent, farmers need simple actions that can be put in place to help manage their water systems. In understanding these challenges, we are delighted to support LEAF with this initiative, which will help to safeguard farmers’ incomes and the supply of high quality malting barley on which our business and our customers depend.”
The launch event also included talks from Sarah Mukherjee, Director of Environment, Water UK, and LEAF farmer, Matthew Naylor, who explained how, using LEAF’s IFM helps him manage his water resources more sustainably.
The Simply Sustainable Water resource is available online at http://www.leafuk.org/leaf/farmers/ssw.eb.
LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) is the U.K.-based leading organisation delivering sustainable food and farming. LEAF works with farmers, the food industry, scientists and consumers to inspire and enable sustainable farming that is prosperous, enriches the environment and engages local communities. LEAF promotes Integrated Farm Management (IFM), a whole farm business approach that delivers sustainable farming. For more information, visit www.leafuk.org.