Last modified: 15 April 2013
Farmers across the UK have been entering the 2013 Nature of Farming Award competition since it launched earlier this year, but today the RSPB is reminding those who’ve yet to thrown their hat into the ring to do so before it’s too late.
With applications only being accepted until Thursday 18 April, the race is on to find the UK’s top wildlife friendly farmer.
The award aims to find farming’s wildlife heroes who put in the most work on their land to help countryside species. The award is run by the RSPB, supported by Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife, and sponsored by The Telegraph.
Martin Harper, the RSPB’s conservation director, said: “We fully recognise the challenges involved in trying to protect wildlife while producing vast amounts of food, but farms don’t need to resemble a nature reserve to qualify –small efforts here and there can make an important difference to species in trouble.
“There’s a growing swell of farmers who have proved nature can go hand in hand with a healthy farm business and we know there are more out there. If you’re one of them, then enter the competition now while there’s still time. Past winners have included dairy, arable and livestock farms, so it’s worth applying no matter what kind of farm you have.”
The judges, made up of representatives from the RSPB, Plantlife, Butterfly Conservation and Countryfile Magazine, will be looking for efforts to promote wildlife on farmland, for example by providing nesting habitat, and summer and winter food for birds.
After the closing date, entries will be shortlisted to eight regional winners then a panel of experts will decide which four should go through to the national finals. The UK public will then decide the winner by casting their votes online, via The Telegraph or at country shows throughout the summer. There is also a highly commended category to recognise the efforts of farmers who have excelled in their support of farmland wildlife.
The deadline for entries is 18 April. All the details on how to enter can be found on the RSPB website at www.rspb.org.uk/natureoffarming
Farmland bird populations have fallen by 50 per cent since 1970 and it is only by protecting wildlife-rich farming systems and encouraging more uptake of science-backed conservation measures on farmland that species like lapwings, skylarks and grey partridges will bounce back. The EU LIFE+ Programme funds RSPB work which supports wildlife-friendly farming that furthers sustainable development in the European Union.
How you can help
We’re celebrating the work the UK’s farmers do for wildlife