The CCRI was partner in the EU Horizon 2020 “Towards SUstainable and REsilient EU FARMing systems (SURE-Farm)” project between 2017-2021. SURE-Farm involved a consortium of 16 pan-European research institutions (from 13 countries), led by Wageningen University.

Amid concerns about the viability of EU farming systems, the 4-year SURE-Farm project built on the concepts of resilience thinking to develop a comprehensive framework to identify the conditions that enable farming systems to become and remain resilient to a broad range of current and imminent stressors.

Consortium partners at the SURE-Farm kick off meeting in Wageningen in September 2017

SURE-Farm addressed determinants of resilience, potential improvements to risk management strategies, drivers of farm demographics, and strengths and weaknesses of the existing policy framework. Its overall ambition was to develop a novel, comprehensive resilience-enabling framework that can be supported, adopted and implemented by key actors in the sector (e.g. upstream and downstream value chain actors and insurance companies) and by policy makers in their attempts to enhance the sustainability and resilience of the EU agricultural sector.

The work of the CCRI team focused on the effects and responses of the arable farming system in the East of England to the full variety of global and national challenges. It has investigated the factors and drivers that influence transformation of the farming system and mitigation of the negative effects of risks. In a UK context the purpose of the study has been to identify and evaluate the resilience of the arable farming system to sudden shocks and gradual changes, observing the capacity of the farming system to react and to generate robust, adaptable or transformable responses. It has also identified the tools that enhance the viability of the arable farming system, both from an institutional and individual farm’s perspective.

The project has purposefully taken a multi-disciplinary approach, from quantitative surveys and data analysis to participatory approaches directly involving farmers, policymakers and stakeholders. The objectives and findings of SURE-Farm are central to understanding the various factors at play during this transition period and have direct relevance in strategically informing and supporting policymakers in their pursuit of a vision for a new English agricultural system – for the arable sector, and beyond.

The CCRI team was led by Mauro Vigani and includes Julie Urquhart, Rob Berry, Damian Maye, Paul Courtney, Amr Khafagy and Jasmine Black.

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