06 July 2023

Revolutionising Environmental Farming and Natural Capital Services

Gavin Fauvel, Estate Director for our Cranborne Estate, recently delivered a keynote speech at Groundswell, the leading regenerative agricultural festival dedicated to promoting sustainable farming practices. The event attracts a diverse audience of farmers, industry experts and enthusiasts, and serves as a catalyst for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and innovation within the agricultural sector.

As a founder member of the Environmental Farmers Group (EFG) Gavin enlightened the audience on the organisation’s key driver of championing nature-friendly food production and EFG’s innovative approach to protecting nature and the environment.

In this article we highlight some of the key takeaways from Gavin’s talk, focusing on the evolving landscape of environmental farming, the potential challenges faced by farmers post-Brexit, and the innovative membership model adopted by the group.


The EFG traces its roots back to the Farmer Cluster movement, a collaborative association of farmers working together to enhance natural outcomes on their respective farms. Recognizing the impending threat of significant income loss resulting from the removal of farm subsidies post-Brexit, Gavin and his peers joined forces to present a united front in the form of the EFG, addressing the challenges faced by farmers in the wider River Avon catchment.


A key focus in Gavin’s talk was the imperative for developers to offset nutrient impact and achieve Biodiversity Net Gain as mandated by forthcoming legislation. The EFG have devised a model where farmers pay a subscription per hectare to become members. This framework enables the aggregation of potential land sites to deliver natural capital services, whilst also facilitating the consolidation of seekers or buyers of these services. The scale of land and membership ensures easy navigation through evolving markets and codes, allowing the group to shape nascent markets and influence government policy.


As early movers in the natural capital services domain, the EFG are playing a significant role in shaping the emerging markets in this sector, by actively participating in panels and conferences alongside influencers such as DEFRA and the Association of National Parks. Their expertise and insights feed into the development of government policies, cementing their influence and commitment to sustainable farming practices.

During the talk, Gavin and the panel answered a diverse array of questions from the audience, with discussions ranging from exploring effective collaborations between landlords and tenants, to policy development and soil carbon. These conversations provided a platform for shared knowledge and innovative thinking, further facilitating the adoption of environmentally friendly practices within the agricultural sector.

The keynote showcased the dedication and innovative spirit that drives the EFG. Through their membership model and collaborative approach, the group is revolutionizing the landscape of environmental farming and natural capital services. As early movers, they are actively shaping nascent markets, influencing policies, and spearheading sustainability initiatives within the agricultural sector in their pursuit of a greener and more sustainable future.

Revolutionising Environmental Farming and Natural Capital Services - Cranborne Estate