Written evidence submitted by Nicola Renison (SH0011)

Soil Health – Call for evidence



I’m Nicola Renison, I farm 350 acres in Cumbria with my husband, I’m a steering group member of NFFN, and a founding member of the Carbon Calling, a regenerative farming conference. We started our journey to a more regenerative farming model about 8 years ago, and since then soil has become our greatest asset. My answers are from a pasture area, although we do have significant acres in Cumbria of lambs on roots in the winter and maize grown for dairy.

1, for soils to thrive land must be covered, so if the policy allows bare land the system fails. There are many soil tests, my question would be are these fit for purpose? Are they testing life in the soil? There are very few experts on this such as Dr Elaine Ingham, Nicola Masters, government need to speak to them and ask these questions.

2, In my area, no regulations do not ensure soil is cared for, who is policing it? We need people on the ground giving folk warnings then hefty fines, but also looking at ‘why’ is this happening,

3, ELM’s could encourage farmers to moving away from set stocking to a rotational grazing system, help with the infrastructure involved in setting this up, also Agri colleges embracing a more holistic approach to grazing. If ELM fails farmers will just farm harder and more soil will end up in the river,

4, An in depth independent look at the relationship between soil health and human health, also the true costs of cheap food – the disaster of monocultures/big machinery and the commodity market.

5, Speak to Nicole Masters! Read ‘for the love of soil’

A herd of sheep in a field

Description automatically generated with medium confidenceIn conclusion the answers are all available, but unfortunately many of the folk who answer this are going to want the status quo to continue, as do some of the farming organisations.











These are store lambs on stubble turnips in January in Cumbria, very common, happens every year, fed grain in hoppers alongside. Should these late born lambs be taken to the east to eat cover crops? Transport costs stop this, could that be subsidised?

January 2023