We're inviting farmers across the Ock catchment who share our passion for a healthy freshwater environment to join the Ock Farmer cluster.

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Why join the Ock Catchment Farmer Cluster?

We know that many farmers in the Ock catchment are keen to get involved in agri-environment schemes but we can achieve so much more by working together. The Ock Catchment Farmer Cluster brings the catchment’s farmers and rural business owners together to share ideas and collaborate. It is also a forum for sharing knowledge on accessing funding for agri-environment schemes.

Hosted by Freshwater Habitats Trust, the Ock Catchment Farmer Cluster runs regular meetings and events. These often include local wildlife and farming experts, representatives from other wildlife conservation charities and Government bodies, such as Natural England, who can help members to navigate the complex arena of agri-environment funding schemes.

Formal members of the Ock Catchment Farmer Cluster can also access subsidised training and freshwater ecological baseline surveys. The cluster aims to create a leading demonstration landscape showcasing the most effective and innovative measures for protecting the freshwater and terrestrial environment and delivering related ecosystem services within the Ock including:

  •     Enhanced biodiversity
  •     Clean water
  •     Flood risk reduction
  •     Natural habitat connections
  •     Water resource protection
  •     Carbon sequestration

The Ock Catchment Farmer Cluster is governed by Terms of Reference and is directed by a Steering Group of Farmers. Members are asked to sign a simple agreement.

About the Ock catchment

The River Ock is a tributary of the Thames in Oxfordshire. Its catchment is typical English countryside, used mainly for agriculture. The landscape includes several small villages and country towns, ancient woodlands, and rivers, streams, ponds, meadows and marshes, whose history can be traced back for 5,000 years.

Freshwater wildlife in the Ock and Thames is under severe pressure from pollution, drainage and climate change. This mean that plants and animals are still disappearing from this landscape. Freshwater Habitats Trust is tackling this through the Ock Catchment Project and the Ock Arable project. Establishing the Ock Catchment Farmer Cluster gives more farmers and landowners the opportunity to get involved in improving freshwater and terrestrial habitats for wildlife in the catchment.


What is a farmer cluster?

The first farmer clusters were piloted by Natural England and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) in 2014. The aim was to bring farmers, land managers and conservationists together to deliver greater benefits for soil, water and wildlife at a landscape scale.

There are now farmer clusters all over the country, with new clusters being established all the time. Farmers do a lot for wildlife, but by working together can achieve so much more for the local rural environment.

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