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Farming resilience: civil society's role in supporting vulnerable rural communities through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic

ESRC UKRI Covid Rapid Response

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Agricultural Wellbeing

Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI)

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A Helping Hand. Alternative sources of agricultural labour for farms in the U.K.

The Worshipful Company of Farmers and the John Oldacre Foundation

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Loneliness, social isolation and mental health in farming communities: An analysis of social and cultural factors

Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Network (funded by UKRI)

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Rural isolation and COVID-19: Faith, worship and social contact

ARC (Arthur Rank Centre)

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Food System Impacts of COVID-19

UKRI - ESRC

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Collaboration and Incentives Commission – Exploring the effectiveness of collaborative mechanisms, incentives and alternative approaches for delivering environmental outcomes at large spatial scales through ELM

Defra

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The Prince’s Countryside Fund: Livestock Auction Marts Research Project

The Prince's Countryside Fund and the John Oldacre Foundation Endowment

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NFU Mutual Farm and Rural Succession

NFUM

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Systems Change - Towards a Circular Economy SL-07647

EPSRC

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The viability of the UK family farm

Prince's Countryside Fund

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Environmental Effectiveness of the HLS Stewardship Scheme, resurvey SL-07102

Natural England via NERC CEH

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Sustainable Intensification Platform

DEFRA

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Evaluation of the Family Business Growth Programme as part of the Rural Growth Network

DEFRA

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Research to Inform the Farming Help Charities

Farm Crisis Network

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The Impact of Social Purpose Organisations on Skills and Training

South West Forum, Big Lottery Fund

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South West Agricultural Resource Management (SWARM)

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)/SWRDA

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Validation of Fertiliser Manual (RB209) recommendations for grassland

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

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Economic Impact Assessment of Bovine Tuberculosis in the South West

National Farmers Union

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Processes of Technical Change in British Agriculture: Innovation in the Farming of South West England, 1935 - 1985

ESRC

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Farmcat - Improving the success of agri-environment initiatives

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

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Sustainable Rural Futures (SRF)

Devon County Council (DCC)

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Open Farm Sunday

Linking Environment And Farming

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Farm Incomes in Devon

Devon County Council

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PPRE - Slow Food Events

Duchy College

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Towards a Framework for GHG Emissions Reduction Strategy

Regional Environment Network

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Land - the New Debate - Workshop

Commission for Rural Communities

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Sustainable Food and Farming Strategy: Regional Indicator Analysis

South West Chamber of Rural Enterprise (SWCORE)

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Improving the Success of Agri-Environment Initiatives: the Role of Farmer Learning and Landscape Context

ERSC

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Entry to and exit from farming: implications for the well-being of farm household members in the South West

Griff Davies Legacy

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Profile

Photo of Professor Matt Lobley

Professor Matt Lobley

Professor of Rural Resource Management, Director of the CRPR

4539

01392 724539

Lazenby House G.02

My research largely focuses on understanding influences on and impacts of farm household behaviour. In particular, my main interests relate to the role of farm households in the management of the countryside, for example, through exploring the impact of CAP reform; attitudes towards agri-environmental policy; and the environmental and social impacts of agricultural restructuring. One of my main areas of expertise is in the well-being of farm households and family life-cycle and succession issues on family farms. I co-direct a collaborative international project (FARMTRANSFERS) exploring farm succession and retirement in a range of different social, economic and political contexts. Beyond agriculture and the environment, other research interests include the design and impact of rural development initiatives and, more broadly, the social sustainability of rural communities. I am Editor of the International Journal of Agricultural Management.


Research group links

Research interests

My research largely focuses on understanding influences on and impacts of farm household behaviour. In particular, my main interests relate to the role of farm households in the management of the countryside, for example, through exploring the impact of CAP reform; attitudes towards agri-environmental policy; and the environmental and social impacts of agricultural restructuring. More recently, I have developed an interest in the well-being of rural households. I also have a long standing interest in family life-cycle and succession issues on family farms and co-direct a collaborative international project (FARMTRANSFERS) exploring farm succession and retirement in a range of different social, economic and political contexts. Beyond agriculture and the environment, other research interests include the design and impact of rural development initiatives and, more broadly, the social sustainability of rural communities.

Since 1998 I have undertaken research on family farming in the south west England, specifically focusing on the process of entry to and exit from farming and also exploring the impact on personal well-being of strategies to remain in farming.

I am also co-leader of FarmCat, a project exploring the impact of farmer training and landscape context on the outcomes of agri-environmental schemes (funded under the Rural Economy and land Use Programme). Recent major research projects include a Defra funded project examining the pattern and implications of agricultural restructuring in England (Click here to download report) and a project exploring the impact of organic farming on the rural economy in England (Click here to download final report).

I am a co-director of FARMTRANSFERS, an international research project examining the pattern and process of retirement and succession on family farms. For further information on FARMTRANSFERS and details of how to carry out a survey using the FARMTRANSFERS questionnaire� contact Matt Lobley, John Baker (at Iowa State University) or Ian Whitehead (at Plymouth University).

Selected current and recent projects

  • Sustainable Intensification Platform Project 2: Opportunities and risks for farming and the environment at landscape scales (Defra, 2014-2017)
  • Sustainable Intensification Platform Project 1: Integrated farm management for improved economic, environmental and social performance (Defra, 2014-2017)
  • Family Business Growth Programme (Defra, 2013-2014)
  • Monitoring the Brue Valley Living Landscape Landowner Advisory Service (Somerset Wildlife Trust, 2013)
  • Validation of fertiliser manual (RB209) recommendations for grasslands (Defra, 2012-2014)
  • Research to inform the farming help charities: agricultural trends in the SW and leaving farming (Farming Help Charities, 2012-13)
  • South West Agricultural Resource Management (Defra/SWRDA, 2012-2013)
  • The Impact of Social Purpose Organisations on skills and training in the Okehampton area (SW Forum/Big Lottery Fund, 2011-2013)
  • Making Land Available for Woodland Creation (Forestry Commission, 2011-2012)
  • A Review of Cornwall's Agri-food Industry (Cornwall Development Company, 2011)
  • Economic Impact Assessment of Bovine Tuberculosis in the South West (National Farmers Union, 2010)
  • Sustainable Rural Futures Research Programme (Devon County Council, 2009-2014)
  • Processes of Technical Change in British Agriculture: Innovation in the farming of South West England, 1935-1985 (ESRC, 2009-2013)
  • Griff Davies Legacy: Entry to and exit from farming: implications for the well-being of farm household members in the South West (2006-2014)
  • ESRC/RELU: Improving the success of agri-environment initiatives: the role of farmer learning and landscape context (with CEH, IGER & Reading, 2006-2011)
  • Food production, processing and distribution in Cornwall (Objective 1/Taste of the West, 2006)
  • Green Futures: Practical environmental enhancements in the South West's improved grasslands (with IGER, 2005-2006). Funded through the SW Regional Food and Farming Strategy
  • Social implications of changes in the structure of agricultural businesses (DEFRA, 2004-05)
  • Rural Stress Review (Rural Stress Information Network, 2003-2004)
  • The contribution of organic farming to the rural economy (DEFRA, 2003-05)
  • Environmental and economic implications of changes in the structure of agricultural business (DEFRA, 2001-02)
  • Family farming on the edge? Adaptability and change in farm households (Co Ag, 2001-02)

Research supervision

Currently co-supervising 2 PhD students

  • Caroline Nye: Agricultural Labour in the UK: Change and Challenge in the Transition to Sustainable Intensification
  • Suzanna Metz: Church and Rural Society

Biography

Matt Lobley BA Hons (CNAA), PG cert (Plym), MSc (Lond) PhD (Lond) is Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute in the Politics Department at the University of Exeter.  He was appointed in 2002.

Between 1998 and 2002 he was Senior Lecturer in Countryside Management at the University of Plymouth (Seale-Hayne campus), and between 1989 and 1998 Research Assistant/Research Fellow at Wye College, University of London.

Currently he is Editor of the International Journal of Agricultural Management, Board Member of the Devon Wildlife Trust, Member of the Devon Food & Farming Board, Member of Climate SouthWest Agriculture & Forestry Group, Member of the Heart of the South West Growth Network Management Board and Co-Director of FARMTRANSFERS, an international project examining the pattern and process of farm succession and retirement.

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