National Trust has joined forces with Andy Cato, cutting edge rewilding farmer, to help meets its conservation targets.he
The co-founder of Wildfarmed has been awarded a 20-year lease on part of the Buscot and Coleshill Estate in Oxfordshire. His efforts will help the National Trust meet its 2025 targets for restoring biodiversity and natural habitats.
Andy Cato has been developing regenerative farming methods for over a decade. “We’re in an ecological and climate crisis,” he says. “We have to quickly get carbon back in our soils and restore biodiverse habitat.
“Our methods allow the transition to regenerative farming with minimal investment risk. And they create a market that rewards quality over quantity – in the improved quality of crops, soil and ecosystems.
“They produce high quality organic wheat and beef with soil health, nature and carbon at the forefront”
“This is system change which is economically viable, and it can unleash a wave of innovation.”
Charles Leather, estate manager at National Trust’s Buscot and Coleshill Estates in West Oxfordshire says, “During the selection process for the tenancy of Colleymore Farm on the Buscot and Coleshill estates, Wildfarmed impressed us with their innovative approach to farming and passion about sharing their methods.
“They produce high quality organic wheat and beef in a regenerative way with soil health, nature and carbon at the forefront of their model.”
Natural grasslands efficiently sink and store carbon. Wildfarmed grows wheat in permanent pasture, with cows brought to graze on it, allowing nature and biodiversity to thrive. It’s an organic, minimal till, mixed system. Cattle and permanent pasture drive soil restoration, and long straw population wheat is not only more nutritious, it eats huge quantities of carbon dioxide.
It’s a method of farming Andy Cato developed in Gascony where he was awarded the Lauréat National de L’agro-écologie 2020, for the most innovative farm in France.
“By 2030, Wildfarmed will remove as much CO2 as a rainforest the size of Greater London”
He says, “An opportunity like this doesn’t come along often. I’m excited to make Colleymore Farm the home of Wildfarmed and a place to share with our increasing network of growers, millers, bakers and chefs, and the wider community.
“To have the backing of the National Trust is a huge vote of confidence that we’re onto something that can make a real difference.”
At Colleymore Farm, Andy Cato is focused on undersowing spring cereals with herbal leys, in preparation for autumn, and planning autumn tree planting in line with the National Trust’s Farming for Nature initiative.
Wildfarmed also operates in Norfolk, Surrey, Sussex, Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Herefordshire. By 2030, its system should be removing as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as a 100-year-old rainforest the size of Greater London.