Unfortunately I am not going to Japan on a research visit, but yesterday I hosted 5 Japanese University Professors and Lecturers on a research visit to Devon, arranged by Hisako Nomura from Kyushu University, to find out more about how the National Trust and our tenant farmers use Environmental Stewardship Schemes to manage landscapes and wildlife.
I had a very enjoyable day and was surprised at how informed and knowledgable they were of farming in England and the various government schemes available. As part of the day we visited Twitchen Farm and our tenant, Wayne Copp, who has his own Higher Level Scheme (HLS). He showed them around his farm and we saw the great work and environmental gains he is achieving by participating in HLS. As the day progressed it became apparent that many of the problems British farmers and the countryside face are similar to those faced by Japanese farmers and their countryside. Issues such as intensification of farming methods, loss of habitats and associated wildlife and a disconnection of the public too where their food comes from. I hope their visit was useful for them and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them.