LEAF which stands for Linking Environment and Farming is a leading organisation delivering sustainable food and farming. Over the last couple of years our Jersey Dairy farmers have been working with LEAF to achieve the LEAF Marque certification – a global environmental assurance system recognising high standards of environmental care including more sustainable soil and water management, enhanced energy efficiency, improved biodiversity and landscape management, optimal animal health and welfare and stronger community connections.
We are proud to say that all of our dairy farms have been awarded this gold standard recognition for sustainable farming and Jersey Dairy is the first dairy in the world to hold the ‘LEAF Marque’ on its fresh milk packaging, due to the environmental credentials of the milk production process in the island.
Jenny Clark, Assurance Manager at LEAF said:
“LEAF Marque is all about empowering and enabling farming businesses to make positive changes. Achieving more sustainable farming is a collective responsibility involving the entire food supply chain – farmers, suppliers, processors, retailers and consumers. We greatly value our partnership with Jersey Dairy and all its suppliers and look forward to continuing to work with Jersey’s farmers at a grass roots level to help drive forward continual improvement, promotion of environmental best practice and to grow market opportunities.”
Biodiversity and LEAF on farms
Our 13 Jersey Dairy farms have also been working closely with Ecologist, Piers Sangan from Sangan Island Conservation to record each farms biodiversity.
Piers has been working with our farmers to put together audits and enhancement plans as part of their commitments to LEAF. The centre has been on integrated farm management which puts focus on how all elements of the farm are interconnected such as soil management, water, crop protection and nature and landscape.
Piers says, “Jersey Dairy farms are fantastic assets to our islands landscape and help to protect a wide variety of species with over 2500 species recorded across the farms to date. Jersey farms are not the typical bare fields but contain a wide mosaic of habitats such as wet meadows, reedbeds, dune grassland, woodland, the list goes on. As part of the farm’s commitments under LEAF, farms have chosen several key species or groups to focus their management efforts on and these vary from farm to farm. Whether it be squirrels hedgehogs, farmland birds and pollinators to some less seen species such as bats and glow worms.
Many of the farms have also set themselves bold ambitions to achieve within the next 5-10 years such as restoring orchid meadows, hedgerow and tree planting or habitat management to encourage the return of lost species such as turtle dove. Working in the environment there are very few quick wins and many plans will take years to implement and come to fruition. LEAF is a standard that is designed to be progressive and continual work is required to maintain the standard for the farm.”
Our dairy farmers know that in an increasing developing island, farmland is becoming the last refuge for many species both in the fields and those associated with the historic farm buildings such as swallows, house martins and bats. The adoption of the LEAF standards by the farms helps to develop the islands farmland landscape into large nature reserves for the future.
LEAF website – https://leafuk.org/
Sangan Island Conservation – http://sanganconservation.co.uk/home-page
2020 Big Farmland Bird Count – https://jerseydairy.com/the-2020-big-jersey-farmland-bird-count/