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Expert to work with Welsh Government on sustainable farming

Dr Sophie Wynne-Jones

Dr Sophie Wynne-Jones a human geographer, specialising in farming and rural change at Bangor University, has been awarded a Policy Fellowship to work with Welsh Government’s teams for Agriculture and Land Management Reform. The Fellowship, funded by the Economic Social Research Council, one of the UK’s national research funding bodies, enables Dr Wynne-Jones to support the Welsh Government team tasked with the design of bespoke Welsh policy, following the UK’s departure from the EU.

This change in policy will also meet Wales’ commitments to address the Climate Emergency and enable the agricultural sector to achieve Net Zero emissions. This will involve activities such as tree planting and better soil management on farms to store carbon, as well as more careful resource use to reduce the environmental burden of agriculture.

Dr Wynne-Jones will work with Welsh Government to understand how their policies can effectively drive cultural and business changes within agriculture to ensure the sustainability of the industry.Dr Wynne-Jones said,

“I am excited to be working with Welsh Government on this critical task at a time of such momentous upheaval. Following Brexit, everything is changing for the farming sector. It is vital that new land management schemes achieve their objectives for the environment, but they need to be well designed to work for farming businesses and communities, otherwise no one wins.

Farming is under a lot of pressure and gets a hard time in the press due to the negative environmental impacts it can have. But farmers in Wales are doing a lot right, and there is loads of potential to do things better. That’s why it is so important to work effectively with them in developing these new schemes.

The Fellowship is a great opportunity for me to apply my own expertise, but also to share the wealth of research we are conducting on agricultural systems and sustainable land use here at Bangor University. It really puts Bangor on the map as being at the forefront of research supporting sustainable landscape futures.”

Ann Humble, Head of Strategic Analysis, Department for Climate Change and Rural Affairs, Welsh Government commented,

“Welsh Government is delighted to be a participant in this new and exciting initiative from ESRC enabling Dr Wynne-Jones to be embedded within our Climate Change and Rural Affairs evidence and research capability. This role gives an academic the opportunity to provide methodological and expert insight directly to Policy teams developing new policy and providing new and innovative ideas for improving existing programmes.”