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Welcome to this group for all farmers and anyone with an interest in farming. Read our blog to see how we're working with farmers and to find out where you can meet us at events.
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  • Blog Post: Brexit - what does the future hold for farming?

    Posted on behalf of Senior Policy Officer Tom Lancaster We’re often told by politicians at Westminster that ‘Brexit means Brexit’; but what does Brexit actually mean, and what does it mean for farming, land use and nature? Cattle grazing in cirl bunting habitat (RSPB-images...
  • Blog Post: Hope Farm: the return of the fat bird of the barley

    Regular readers of this blog will be well aware of the fantastic success that we have had at Hope Farm with increasing key farmland breeding bird populations since 2000: skylarks quadrupled, linnets quintupled, yellowhammers doubled, lapwings, yellow wagtail and grey partridge all colonizing the farm...
  • Blog Post: Back to the Future at Hope Farm

    I grew up in Belfast when DeLorean cars were being made. Of course these cars were made infamous by the series of Back to the Future films of that era. While the films look dated now, the idea of time travel is still something we often dream about. I certainly dream about it. What did the Fens...
  • Blog Post: Trending at Hope Farm

    None of those who work at Hope Farm are social media junkies, but yet we cannot completely escape that world. Whether we’re exposed to Twitter, Facebook or even the BBC we see this term ‘trending’ everywhere. Yet, trends as opposed to trending are very important to us. They give...
  • Blog Post: Hairstreaks and brocades at Hope Farm

    Much of the biodiversity monitoring that takes place at Hope Farm is focused on birds, as you would expect. Fifteen years of breeding and wintering bird surveys has shown just how well birds have recovered during RSPB ownership and management of this farm. But as we all know birds are just one part of...
  • Blog Post: Open Farm Sunday and other visitors to Hope Farm

    One of the real pleasures of working at Hope Farm is showing visitors around. Many of our visitors are specifically invited due to their areas of work, influence or interest such as the visit by Farming Minister George Eustice MP last autumn at a crucial time during negotiations about future agri-environment...
  • Blog Post: What birds are wintering on your farm?

    Winter is a tough time for wildlife, but especially so for those species which call farmland home. Many farmland bird species such as grey partridge, yellowhammer and corn bunting depend on seeds to survive. Other species such as thrushes and bullfinches depend on berries, fruit and grubs found along...
  • Blog Post: Hope for the future of agri-environment delivery in England?

    With the successor to the previous agri-environment schemes in England nearing it's final stages of development, Farming Minister George Eustice made a trip to visit the RSPB's Hope Farm earlier this month to see how we've been giving nature a home on the farm. Image: George Eustice...
  • Blog Post: Hope Farm: 2014 has been so much better

    The last two years have been very challenging at Hope Farm with lower numbers of breeding birds than our high point in 2011, and disappointing crop yields. The summer of 2012 will long be etched in many of our memories with the incessant rain after a prolonged drought, which had a considerable impact...
  • Blog Post: Stone-curlews past and present

    Posted on behalf of Andrew Holland, Farmland Project Officer in the Brecks Stone-curlews are an amazing and instantly recognizable bird, with their large yellow eyes and long yellow legs. They fly hundreds of miles each year to areas which have stony, light sandy soils to breed in England, these include...
  • Blog Post: Hope Farm update - it's not just the birds and the bees. Butterflies count too!

    The Hope Farm Winter Bird Index, calculated from whole-farm counts made during December, January and February, for 2013/14 is 6.84 . This is a slight decline from 2012/13 (7.35). However, it is the 3 rd highest winter index figure for Hope Farm since counts began in winter 2000/01 (baseline = 1) and...
  • Blog Post: The plot thickens...

    February. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who still has a carpet, you’re soaked, it’s dark, and there’s still nearly a year to wait for Christmas. If it’s not the storms that are surging, then it’s the fog that’s freezing, and there’s no sign of any...
  • Blog Post: A Partridge in an Oil Field

    To be honest I’m not known for my love of Christmas carols, but at our department Christmas lunch and get together, the team that I work in gave a slightly different rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas with each day related to our work areas. This included providing swifts with nest holes...
  • Blog Post: Choosing for the Children at Christmas

    “How’s your Christmas shopping going?” I’m usually the person who doesn’t get started till Christmas Eve, so I dread the question, especially when it comes from one of those super-shoppers that cleaned up on Black Friday! At this time of year, people spend lots of...
  • Blog Post: Nature of Farming Award - A fine crop of highly commended farms for the Northern England Region

    Guest blog by our Northern England Advisory team On our recent visits the Northern England Judging Team were very pleased to award High Commendations to three entrants: Southburn is just one of 11 farms owned/managed by JSR Farms Ltd. JSR Farms was founded in 1958 and are now one of the largest...
  • Blog Post: In The Zone

    It’s good to be part of something special, a special band of people making a real change for the better. Isn’t that what people want to be ultimately? Belonging to a special community or a niche of society that others can look upon and admire? For instance I wanted to be a Jedi when I was...
  • Blog Post: On the second day of Christmas.......

    My true love sent to me two turtle doves (are you singing it in your head yet?). I prefer my birdlife in the wild, but these are two turtle doves that I would accept in my hands with great pleasure! Cally Higginbotham, a fabulous chocolatier from Chesterfield, visited Malta, where she discovered...
  • Blog Post: Plump and Chirpy

    by Stuart Croft - Cirl Bunting Reintroduction Field Officer Go back a couple of generations and the plight of one particular species was not a good one. The cirl bunting – a sparrow-sized bird, closely related to the yellowhammer - gets its name from an Italian translation meaning plump and...
  • Blog Post: A difficult cropping year at Hope Farm

    The weather dictates everything in farming whether you are an arable or livestock farmer. For us as an arable farm cultivations, spraying operations and harvesting are all at the mercy of the weather. Crop growth is also very much affected by the weather. © Andy Hay, RSPB Images When wheat...
  • Blog Post: Mind the (Hungry) Gap

    Is it nearly Spring yet? Well, it depends who you ask. While we patiently hang on for the 21 March, optimistic Celts have already celebrated Imbolc on 1 February. Its arrival was also heralded on 1 February by chicken farmers the world over, as they celebrated the day of their patron saint, St Brigid...
  • Blog Post: Creating space for a battling midfielder

    Back in the Wilkinson years, before Batty turned England Captain, before Kamara turned Sky pundit, and before Eric turned Red, I was a Leeds fan. Me and Dad had season tickets in the East Stand and never missed a home game. Eventually the endless 0-0 draws under George Graham put me off football altogether...
  • Blog Post: While stocks last..

    Fancy filling your belly for free? If like me you are a frugal type and not easily embarrassed, this is the time of year to scour Fen roadsides. Lorries piled to the brim with spuds, onions and carrots are trundling back and forth as fast as they can go from the field to the packing plant. You can...
  • Blog Post: Here’s one we prepared earlier...

    I LOVE this time of year! Is it the long days? The celebrations? The countryside bustling with life? All these things! But most of all it's because it’s the time of year I get to make farmers pose self-consciously for photos in patches of pretty flowers! Awk-ward! Meet my latest victim...
  • Blog Post: Step into my Office

    Welcome to my office. I reckon it’s one of the biggest in the UK. Vaguely speaking, the ‘walls’ are the A14 to the south, the Cambridgeshire border to the west, the start of the sandy Brecks to the east, and to the North... Well I haven’t quite decided but it’s somewhere...
  • Blog Post: The Village Bunting’s Out for Easter in the Fens

    Spotted on my way home from work – a 100-strong mixed flock of buntings and yellowhammers , with the odd tree sparrow thrown in for good measure. Tweeting, jangling hissing and popping away, they are restless, exuberant and full of spring energy, torn between winter flocking behaviour and breaking...