Britain’s first Agroforestry Show begins today

The two-day Agroforestry Show runs Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 September – more info here

NEARLY a thousand people from the farming and forestry community will descend on Wiltshire for the UK’s first major event aimed solely at bringing more trees onto British farms – the Agroforestry Show.

Around 900 delegates from farmers and foresters to researchers, policy makers and advisors will explore how trees are key to ensuring food production while tackling climate change and biodiversity loss, at the event with the Soil Association and Woodland Trust.

Soil Association head of agroforestry Ben Raskin said: “The nation’s love of trees and hedgerows shows we intrinsically understand the benefits of trees on farms. But we desperately need more, and this event aims to empower people to make this happen.

“Evidence from farming pioneers and researchers shows that agroforestry can deliver resilience for land managers across the country. Trees can protect their farms from extreme weather, make additional income from tree products and build biodiversity into their land.

“But there is a knowledge gap in this country so the Agroforestry Show is aimed at giving farmers and foresters the confidence to have a go by themselves to kick-start a farmer-led tree revolution.”

Researchers and farming pioneers have found that agroforestry – combining trees with livestock or crops – can protect animals during heatwaves, boost yields, and cut river and air pollution.

These findings will be presented at the show alongside new discoveries by farmers on how best to incorporate trees on farms as tools for climate resilience and producing food.

The two-day Agroforestry Show, (Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 September), aims to upskill farmers and foresters to expand agroforestry as a key climate, nature and farming solution across the UK.

The event programme features more than 100 speakers on all aspects of agroforestry and includes research on how trees can prevent river pollution and reduce ammonia emission, plus insights into the benefits of tree shade to reduce heat impacts on livestock.

Farmers will also be sharing both what has worked and what hasn’t with tree planting, and the impacts it has on nature, with new updates on farm research that is being supported by the event organisers.

The need to adapt to a rapidly changing climate is becoming a critical concern for farmers. Drier and hotter summers can have devastating effects on both arable and pastoral farms and speakers will reveal how adopting agroforestry can serve as an important buffer in heatwaves as well as in cold and wet conditions.

Shade from trees can prevent heat stress on dairy cows which can lead to lower productivity, higher disease levels and reproduction issues.

Helen Chesshire, lead farming advocate at the Woodland Trust said: “We know bringing more trees into the UK farmed landscapes is essential if we are to meet nature and climate goals. Implementing agroforestry does this whilst also supporting farmers to continue to produce agricultural outputs – a win-win scenario. But with less than 5% of the UK agricultural area under agroforestry this show is needed to give farmers and foresters the confidence to implement it at scale.”

The two-day Agroforestry Show runs Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 September – more info here

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