It’s fair to say that we, as conservationists, have sometimes had a tricky relationship with rural landowners.
In the past if there has been an argument about wildlife in the British countryside, the RSPB and the CLA (Country Land and Business Association) were often to be found on opposite sides of the fence.
So it may have surprised many to hear us both standing in a field, on the same side of the fence, listening to the dawn chorus on the Today programme this morning and agreeing whole heartedly with each other.
The RSPB’s Gareth Morgan and the CLA’s Allan Buckwell were talking about the two organisations’ joint vision for the Common Agricultural Policy ahead of the launch of a report in Brussels.
Now, I’ll forgive you if you drifted off in the middle of that last sentence - European agricultural policy is not usually the most electrifying of subjects. But if we, and our new friends, can get our message across then it could mean more money from Europe targeted at farmers carrying out environmental work.
With the financial boost provided by environmentally targeted subsidies we could see seed rich field margins, protected hedgerows and much needed foraging habitats like over winter stubble on farms the length and breadth of the country. If this happens then we can halt the decline in farmland birds like skylarks, yellowhammers and lapwings.
Watch this space…