Vicky Robinson - Farmer to Farmer Knowledge Exchange: Relevance, Challenges and Future Direction
Growing up on an arable farm in Oxfordshire (now run by my brother and father) I loved farming but also had a passion for horses. I found a degree that combined both of these, the International Agriculture and Equine Business Management degree at what is now the Royal Agricultural University.
After graduating I decided to focus on agriculture. I could see the importance of conservation in the farming industry and this coupled with a realisation of how little I knew about wildlife made me determined to work in this area. After a short period at the Environment Agency I landed my dream job working on agri-environment schemes for the Farming and Rural Conservation Agency. A number of name changes and reorganisations later I now work for Natural England.
Having spent 14 years on farms in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire negotiating and supporting farmers with their agri-environment agreements it was time to step away and into a national role. My current job is jointly project managing a pilot looking at an alternative approach to agri-environment: Payment by Results. Currently EU funded, Defra announced a continuation of this pilot for a further two years as part of the Tests and Trials work for the Environmental Land Management scheme. Being involved with the pilot and getting to work with a group of inspiring farmers has been truly rewarding.
I am married to a vet with two children (8 and 12) so spare time is limited. I love gardening, walking and generally being outside. I am also a trustee of an environmental charity: Wild Oxfordshire which encourages collaborative working between environmental organisations in the county. Recently I have become involved in managing a field which will be used by the local school to learn about farming and wildlife.
Having completed the Worshipful Company of Farmers Challenge of Rural Leadership course in 2018 I set my sights on a Nuffield Farming Scholarship. Being awarded one is a dream come true and I am extremely grateful to the generosity of my sponsors the Central Region Farmers Trust and the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust for this amazing opportunity.