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Severn Trent’s Grants Empower Worcestershire Farmers


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Severn Trent’s Grants Empower Worcestershire Farmers

In a bid to foster a harmonious relationship between farming and nature, Severn Trent has been extending a helping hand to Worcestershire farmers by offering them specialized grants aimed at creating vibrant wildlife meadows.

Known as the STEPS initiative, this Severn Trent’s program welcomes county farmers to seek grants of up to £30,000. These grants are intended for a variety of projects, ranging from pesticide washdown areas equipped with rainwater harvesting systems to the cultivation of cover crops for the winter season and assistance with livestock fencing.

Additionally, farmers have been bestowed with grants as part of Severn Trent’s Spring STEPS scheme, which prioritizes biodiversity. These grants are dedicated to establishing wildlife meadows and nurturing bird-friendly environments.

To date, the STEPS program has generously awarded over 2,160 grants to farmers. These grants have paved the way for the creation of more than 4,600 hectares of new habitat.

These habitats have become thriving ecosystems, supporting insect and mammal populations that serve as magnets for birds. This, in turn, bolsters the natural predator population, which plays a pivotal role in controlling crop-damaging aphids and slugs.

Severn Trent's Grants Empower Worcestershire Farmers
Severn Trent’s Grants Empower Worcestershire Farmers

The introduction of these meadows by the Severn Trent, adorned with wildflowers such as the Ox-Eye Daisy and Lady’s Bedstraw, not only enriches the biodiversity but also proves advantageous to farmers by attracting insects—the natural adversaries of crop pests.

Furthermore, the adoption of field planting options has the potential to mitigate flooding by enhancing soil biology and structure.

Tim Smith, a farmer hailing from Malvern, is a testament to the positive impact of these grants. He has benefited from several grants and transitioned from arable farming to cultivating his land as a haven for the environment and wildlife.

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He shared his experience, stating,

“STEPS has totally changed the way in which I farm. If I had not done these STEPS options, I would not have witnessed the benefits and the increase in wildlife they bring. I would not have embraced the entire farm as a combination of wildlife schemes. I have gained valuable knowledge about establishing and maintaining these areas, which is fundamentally different from arable farming. By implementing changes in small areas over several years, I have avoided the pitfalls of undertaking the entire farm into such a scheme all at once.”

“Farming, much like many other industries, is grappling with challenging times presently,” Tim continued.

“This is precisely why programs like STEPS offer a valuable alternative income source, particularly in areas of land that may not be highly productive.

The ongoing surge in machinery costs and the volatility of commodity prices add to the complexities we face. Initiatives like STEPS, offering a guaranteed income for the duration of the program, help alleviate some of this uncertainty.”

Severn Trent’s commitment to fostering a balanced coexistence between agriculture and nature through these grants underscores their dedication to a sustainable and environmentally conscious future.

 


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