Module: Farming and the Environment

Module details

  • Module code

  • Module leader

    Felicity Crotty

Module content

This module identifies and considers a range of contemporary issues which link farming and the environment. These issues reflect the variety of demands placed upon the farmed landscape and whilst not all these demands are necessarily detrimental, they contribute to the complexity of factors at play. The issues are generally framed around the triple bottom line based on economic, social and environmental performance (Figure 1). It is expected that students will gain an overall appreciation of not only the individual issues, but also how these interact with one another.

Throughout the programme, the various issues are considered from the practical/ technical/ operational standpoints, using actual examples as demonstrated through desktop study work and field trips.

Environmental management issues in relation to farm and agricultural businesses. Much of the practical farm management decisions now taken are done so under the influence of environmental policies or objectives. The importance of sustainability is considered in relation to economic, social and environmental demands.

Subjects will include:

Farming impact: conventional and organic practices, integrated farm management, alternative land uses and diversification, consumption of resources, generation and management of waste

Legislation: the legal compliance with basic agri-environment policy framework and the agencies involved in delivering environmental and woodland policies; agri-environment schemes

Habitat management: environmental protection, impact and audit processes; practical habitat management skills.

Please refer to the OYFC6 Gateway page for a detailed outline of the teaching programme, with dates and times etc. We will normally meet at the Rural Innovation Centre on a Wednesday morning, unless otherwise stated.

Module outcomes

To achieve credit for this module, students must be able to:

  1. Understand the impact of farming practices on the environment
  2. Define the legal conditions for farming methods
  3. Plan and implement habitat management schemes
  4. Evaluate aspects of farm environmental management 


Assessment Description Weighting
Coursework Soil Protection Review Report 50%
Coursework Agri-environmental scheme assessment 50%

Key texts

  • Andrews, J. and Rebane, M. (1994). Farming and Wildlife. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Sandy, Bedfordshire
  • Batey, T. (1988) Soil Husbandry. Soil and Land Use Consultants Ltd. Aberdeen.
  • Carey, P.D., Wallis, S., Chamberlain, P.M., Cooper, A., Emmett, B.A., Maskell, L.C., McCann, T., Murphy, J., Norton, L.R., Reynolds, B., Scott, W.A., Simpson, I.C., Smart, S.M., Ullyett, J.M. (2008) Countryside Survey: UK Results from 2007. NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.
  • Defra (2009) Protecting our Water, Soil and Air: A Code of Good Agricultural Practice for farmers, growers and land managers. TSO (The Stationery Office), Norwich
  • Defra (2010) Cross Compliance Guidance for Soil Management (2010 edition). Rural Payments Agency, Sheffield. Publication number: PB 13315
  • Defra (2010) Cross Compliance Soil Protection Review 2010. Rural Payments Agency, Sheffield. Publication number: PB 13311
  • Defra (2011) Guidance for Cross Compliance in England: Management of Habitats and Landscape Features. Rural Payments Agency, Sheffield. Publication number: rpa176 (Online only)
  • Defra (2012) The Guide to Cross Compliance in England (2012 edition). Rural Payments Agency, Sheffield. Publication number: rpa157 Best viewed online:
  • Natural England (2009). Agri- environmental schemes in England 2009: A review of results and effectiveness. Natural England.
  • Natural England (2009) State of the Natural Environment 2008. Natural England.
  • Natural England (2010) Entry Level Stewardship Handbook (3rd edition). Available from:
  • Soffe, R (2005) The Countryside Notebook. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.
  • Stokes, A. (1999) Health and Safety Overview for Practical Conservation Project: A Guide to Good Practice for Conservation Groups and Land Managers  BTCV Publications

Supporting texts

Other supporting information:

Recommended journals/ media:

  • Journal of Environmental Conservation
  • British Wildlife
  • Farmers Weekly
  • Farmers Guardian