Northants farmer Ian Matts discusses how he has benefitted from LENs

Case Study: Ian Matts, Northants Farmer

A major element of the RAIN project is to work across the Harpers Brook and Wootton Brook catchments to consider where Natural Flood Management techniques could be used to help ‘slow the flow’ of flood waters downstream.  We’re working with farmers and landowners across the area to discuss options.

As part of this, we will be trialling Landscape Enterprise Networks (LENs), which is an innovative funding mechanism for nature-based solutions.  We thought it would be useful to share the following case study of Northants farmer, Ian Matts, who has benefited from LENs to show how it works:


Northamptonshire farmer Ian Matts has been involved in the Landscape Enterprise Network (LENs) in the East of England since 2021. This regional LENs offers funding from public and private organisations in the Northamptonshire area including West Northamptonshire Council, Nestlé Cereal Partners, and Anglian Water. Measures are co-funded with the aim to build supply chain resilience, reduce flood risk and improve biodiversity.

In 2021 Ian received funding for the implementation of sustainable farming practices such as including grain legumes in arable rotation; autumn sown cover crops and reduced cultivation systems. Ian also made use of the innovation measure to gain funding for N sensor rental for precision fertiliser application.

Following his first successful year in the programme, Ian added to his catalogue of measures in 2022 by establishing cover crops in the autumn; year-long fallow with cover crops; incorporated a urease inhibitor with urea fertiliser and integrated fertiliser and manure nutrient supply.

Ian’s involvement is aimed at improving water quality and biodiversity as well as carbon reductions on his farm. Ian likes the LENs model as he explains: “the 1-year measures offer the flexibility to trial different on-farm policies, without locking up land. LENs de-risks innovation so that I can try using new techniques to address agronomic problems.”

Ian has applied for additional measures this year, in 2023.

Northants farmer Ian Matts discusses how he has benefitted from LENs
Northants farmer Ian Matts discusses how he has benefitted from LENs

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