Graham Birch owns a mixed holding extending to 860 hectares near Winterborne Stickland, Dorset.
Following a career in investment banking in the city, Dr Birch bought his first farm in 2007 which came complete with farm manager, Scott Bagwell.
He says his non-farming background means he sees the farm primarily as a business but also admits he soon realised farming was not just about producing as much as possible.
“I began to see it was feasible to farm with a conservation dimension to ensure we were not damaging the environment.
I had no desire to go organic, but rather I wanted to make room for wildlife and valuable habitat around the productive areas.
“So, when I heard about the Jordans Farm Partnership [JFP] it really resonated with me.
Not only were they supporting their growers to care for the environment, but it also meant we had a direct connection to our customer.
“When I came to the farm, I was told it was not in an environmental scheme because there was nothing of interest here.
I have discovered this is completely untrue and we soon entered a Higher Level Stewardship scheme (HLS).
“The HLS integrates well with the partnership work we are doing and like most JFP farms we are doing far more than we have signed up to do.
One of the biggest successes has been the work we have done to encourage corn buntings back on the farm.
“This species has been in decline because as harvests have become earlier in the summer, they cannot fledge their young in time.
We have created habitat for them and now we have a phenomenal number breeding on the farm.
“When I arrived, Scott, our farm manager, knew nothing about wildlife but now he is passionate about the successes we have here and makes most of the suggestions.
He manages the wildlife habitat we create like a crop, considering how it can be managed to exactly meet our objectives.
“For example, we have wildflower margins around the arable fields and we have found grazing with sheep over the autumn and winter promotes greater species diversity.
After harvesting the cereal crops, we will drill stubble turnips and then the sheep can be turned into the field to eat the turnips and graze the margins.
“One of the strengths of the partnership is the support we receive from Jordans.
Our grain buyer Bob Pope and his agronomist Rosemary Hall give us very useful feedback on the agronomy which will work best for each oat variety and on factors influencing grain quality.
“The JFP also provides us with a dedicated adviser from Dorset Wildlife Trust, Emily Newton, and she comes to our farm regularly to give guidance on how we are managing habitats.
She organises breeding bird and botanical surveys which inform our work.” Dr Birch adds there are some restrictions, such as the prohibition on using glyphosate as a desiccant on the oats at harvest, but he says it is a balance.
Overall, he says he is very pleased with the scheme.
“I hope the JFP continues.
What Jordans have done is really powerful and I wish we had more customers like them.”