Farm Advisor - North East

02 Nov 2023
27 Nov 2023
Contract Type

North East Catchments Hub Farm Advisor

Purpose of the job:

  • The Rivers Trust, Northumbria Water and Wear Rivers Trust are working with farm businesses, private industry and community interest partners on the Wear catchment to tackle diffuse water pollution in watercourses and improve river water quality through the North East Catchments Hub. The North East Catchments Hub is a new collaboration, to drive integrated catchment management in the region. 
  • The purpose of these roles is to enhance biodiversity and help farmers reduce the levels of phosphate, nitrate and pesticides entering the water environment, whilst benefitting their businesses. Working within a wider regional team at the North East Catchments Hub, integrating and delivering multiple benefits, such as biodiversity gains, flood and drought mitigation and carbon sequestration with WRT Farm Advisors and other agricultural advisors within the region.
  • An important part of this programme is to identify and develop measures that can generate significant income for farms through Catchment Nutrient Balancing approaches (offsetting end-of-pipe removal of nutrients by working to address other sources for the same or greater impact but wider benefits) and other ecosystem services. You will therefore ideally have a working knowledge of these emerging markets or a desire and aptitude to gain this experience. This is a developing area and so your expertise will shape how we maximise these opportunities for farmers.

Key Responsibilities:

  • The post holders will develop an in-depth agricultural understanding of target catchment areas, develop key relationships with land managers and other agricultural stakeholders, and lead on engagement plans to inform farm plans and assessments, which should be completed in target areas by March 2025.
  • The post-holders will facilitate farm cluster groups in the Wear Sub Catchments, working with existing groups where appropriate, deliver a programme of farmer/agronomist engagement and training events, and undertake one-to-one farm visits to promote resource protection, habitat creation and a reduction in diffuse water pollution from agriculture, with a focus on phosphate but with a view to achieving wider environmental benefits.
  • The post-holders will raise awareness of the potential business opportunities of improving water quality and biodiversity by reducing diffuse pollution from agriculture through Catchment Nutrient Balancing approaches and other market-led opportunities.
  • The post-holders will work with the team at the North East Catchments Hub to co-design farm-based schemes and shape agricultural improvements and interventions that can be included in wider catchment plans that will lead to reduction of diffuse pollution and better river water quality into the future.

Key tasks:

  • Undertake direct delivery of opportunity mapping with farmers, to include business analysis, surveying, designing, costing and funding options for improving water quality and habitat, commissioning external support through North East Catchment Hub, where required.
  • Promote and seek farmer participation and sign up to Farm Cluster Groups, developing a targeted farmer engagement plan.
  • Promote, engage and seek participation in Northumbrian Water’s Catchment Nutrient Balancing schemes.
  • Take opportunities to access support, share knowledge and join up regionally across the North East through the North East Catchments Hub.
  • Advise on and support the programme of catchment water quality sampling and investigations as and when required.
  • Liaise closely with WRT Farm Advisors to ensure joined up working where North East Catchments Hub activity and WRT-funded projects overlap.
  • Contribute to monthly and annual reporting schedules for Wear Rivers Trust and North East Catchments Hub.

Training and Development:

  • The Trust is fully committed to personal development and training through its annual review and progress meetings. The post holder will be encouraged to identify and participate in training and CPD opportunities that help build personal and organisational capacity and capability to deliver the aims of the North East Catchments Hub and the Wear Rivers Trust

Qualifications and experience


  • Ideally 5 years’ experience of arable, livestock or mixed farm management and/or working directly in an advisory capacity to lowland farmers and landowners
  • An understanding of farm-related water quality issues and the potential to deploy Nature Based Solutions.
  • An understanding of, wetland ecology, sustainable rural drainage and catchment management.
  • Knowledge of soil management and nutrient planning


  • Knowledge of the principles of Catchment Nutrient Balancing and other ecosystem service markets (such as Biodiversity Net Gain, Carbon, Natural Flood Management) and opportunities for farmer participation in these schemes.
  • Working knowledge of a range of funding mechanisms to undertake farm and catchment interventions and when they can be applied at a farm level, for example Countryside Stewardship.
  • Relevant professional qualifications in relation to providing agricultural sector advice – for example BASIS, FACTS or other CPD activities.
  • Knowledge of Water Framework Directive, Farming Rules for Water, cross compliance and NVZ requirements
  • Knowledge of Forestry and Countryside Stewardship Schemes and the development and application of ELMS
  • Understanding of the concepts and practical application of Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services

Technical Skills

  • Computer literate in MS Office 
  • A Full Driving Licence and use of a vehicle.
  • Able to communicate technical information in a straightforward and accessible manner, negotiating with and developing strong working relationships with farmers and their representatives.
  • Ability to provide clear concise written material in a variety of format for a variety of audiences


  • Experience of Project Management software
  • GIS mapping experience.

Personal Attributes


  • Positive and energetic team player, able to influence the North East Catchments Hub project on behalf of the Wear Rivers Trust
  • Good time management, organisational skills and the ability to prioritise a varied workload
  • High degree of professionalism, initiative, self-reliance and attention to detail
  • Ability to build trust and respect with a wide variety of stakeholders and interest groups
  • Pragmatism, tact and diplomacy in dealing with stakeholders
  • Ability to work at pace and adapt to changing needs at pace.