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  • Harriet Bell

Selecting a scorecard for Dartmoor

Having decided that they wanted to explore a scorecard based Land Management Plan in combination with a Payments by Results approach the next question for the Dartmoor ELMs Advisory Team was what type of scorecard do they think would work best? On Thursday 13th August the team met virtually to start considering options.


Ahead of the meeting a range of scorecard approaches was circulated. We do not have permission to share all of them publicly, some of them are private intellectual property, but the list included:

These are the notes from the Team's initial scorecard discussion:

  • CSF was too wordy and not measurable by farmers. Sweden too prescriptive. Germany NGO led. Navarro better but indicators not suitable, really specific for that area but maybe taking that principle and making something specific for Dartmoor.

  • Scorecard model is right and we should be working towards it. What’s important to understand is who is behind the scorecard, who has the intellectual property, what commercial organisations are driving that and what are their objectives. Clearly we’re a link to a commercial benefit for some of these organisations. It would be good to have the card and to run on a self-assessment model. There are a breadth of other organisations that are often questionnaire based. It’s important that we understand what we’re trying to record and where it sits within the model. Why shouldn’t farm assurance be compliant with the scheme, why couldn’t we add a bolt on to one of those existing farm assurance schemes.

  • Scorecard keep it simple, stickers, pictures.

  • This scorecard approach was sold to us on the basis of being simple.

  • I don’t have a problem with paying other people to do stuff that we’re not necessarily good at, I don’t want to be wasting time re-inventing the wheel, I’d like to try and get something together.

  • I found them all very complicated, the simpler is can possibly be the better for me. Some of them are very nationally based and we’re much further ahead. I felt more comfortable with the one’s developed in Ireland.

  • The thing I feel about scorecards is that it should be possible to have a scorecard which is simple to score with, that farmers can use to score their farm but that any scorecard has more complicated data behind it.

  • I thought the Natural England one, designed for farmers to do themselves, it was specific to waders but it was a good model. The work Moran and others have done on the peatlands and heathlands scorecards is very much around what we’re doing for Farming Futures.

  • I agree with almost all of the points so far, these things do become more complicated. What you find with all of these things if even if the scorecard is only one sheet there’s a whole manual which goes behind it defining what you mean by these things. We can agree measures and tiers but they need to be specific for Dartmoor.

  • In terms of how the scorecard works we know how different all the home farms are so we need to be careful and really sort out the home farm/common relationship.

  • Success in my eyes is about habitat not species, species can choose to come and go. I’m conscious that we look after the everyday and we don’t go down the road where the only way we make money is low input extensive grassland.

  • In a way the easiest approach would be find out what we want to deliver and then fit the public goods to it because otherwise we aren’t going to deliver anything. The beauty of habitat is we might get what we wanted to but we might attract something we never dreamed we’d have. We want to come up with something that works for Dartmoor but we also have to be mindful that Defra is looking for something which can be widely used – we need a national scheme with local priorities. I think our USP is going to be simplicity and the cheapness of running it. If we can be quite general about it then we can find the right overarching structure. We need to come up with something we want that we can sell to someone to run it for us. Let’s please try and make it as farmer friendly as we can.

  • As farmers that are using the scorecard what do you envisage? Is it a bit of paper that you’re taking out or is it a smart phone thing? Is it worth seeing if that LandApp is looking at a scorecard to go with it? Is the scorecard about spatial prioritization? If our ecosystems are working well they should complement each other. I think another way of say the previous point is holistic context.

  • I referenced the Sullivan/Moran peat land doc, if you’re going down the route of looking at positive and negative indicator assessment then one of the problems is the small quadrant. In their approach they’re looking at a field scale which should work better. With the scorecard it’s not about what people are doing it’s about what they’ve got, where they’re going and what they’re achieving. So in one sense your scorecards are going to be complex but it’s only about what’s relevant to you.

  • The EOV once was very basic and a good starting point. The 2011 report covered what Dartmoor had and it might be a good starting point to go forward. The scorecard builds onto the mapping, it’s the first stage of discovering what you have. So you need to start with something straightforward to read and follow. I think the previous point about our views may have changed since we started this process is right.

  • We’ve been having a long discussion and gone round and round the houses but the more we speak it goes around and around. I think there are only two options either CSF or the Public Goods Tool and then make a decision about which we prefer because otherwise we’ll go around he houses for ever more.

  • I’d like to go back to the simplistic approach. I’d like to host a meeting here because we need to demonstrate on a farm because actually if we’re clever things we already have tick all of the public goods, so if we start with that, things like field boundaries, soils and grassland then we can develop something from there. I would really value the opportunity to have a site meeting. I’m not very good at dealing with things with an app I want to be hands on first. I appreciate we need to do one close to a common or on a common.

  • Based on the previous point I’m like you and I like to see how it works in practice. So if I went out and just went around my farm with a really simple grid and just worked through something practically.

  • I think we’ve talked ourselves to a common understanding, we’ve gone from concept to practical implementation. What everyone’s saying is coming together. It’s the practicalities of what does good look like, what does bad look like, any group of us can come up with that and we can then retrofit it to any of those simple structures. I think once we start that process I think it will all fall into place.

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Advisory Team Meeting Notes

The Advisory Team met virtually on the 10th of September with the intention of developing solutions to the problems identified with commons agreements as outlined in this blog: www.dartmoorhillfarmpro

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