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Farming
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: A round up of our summer show season for 2016

    August heralds the winding down of show season for us, and this year has been as busy as ever for the agriculture team. We’ve been all over the UK to talk about nature-friendly farming, and it’s a great way for us to catch up with friends in the farming world, hear about issues and successes...
  • 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: Farming, wildlife and Brexit

    In case you missed it - read Martin Harper's thoughts on the implications of Brexit for wildlife-friendly farming here . It's worth a read, and we'll continue to assess the implications for nature as further details become available.
  • Blog Post: Nature-friendly farming brings its own rewards: A focus on the Ouse Washes

    May is one of my favourite months of the year - spring is in full swing, 50% of the weekends have an extra day in them, and the days are getting noticeably warmer and longer. For wildlife-friendly farmers, it's a great opportunity to see and hear the benefits of their hard work as birds start to...
  • Blog Post: A year in the life of the corn buntings on Lower Pertwood Farm: Part 2 - Autumn and Winter

    Yesterday we took a virtual wander though spring and summer on Lower Pertwood Farm , and the challenges and opportunities faced by the important population of corn buntings on the farm. You can read it here if you missed it. Today, we head through autumn and into winter to find out how the farm management...
  • 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: Hope for China

    Over a year we have a very wide range of visitors to Hope Farm as I previously blogged about. The vast majority of visitors come from England as you might expect for a farm on the outskirts of Cambridge. Occasionally however we receive visitors from much further afield, and this morning we were very...
  • Blog Post: Why farming matters to conservation and RSPB Scotland

    With over 75% of the UK land area being farmed, farming has a huge impact on all our lives and on the wildlife that calls farmland its home. RSPB works closely with farmers all over the UK, and with those that represent them. In this blog Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, discusses a reason...
  • 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: A story of flowers, floods and friends

    I first heard from Mr Blackburn back last November. His current agri-environment agreement was due to end soon, and he’d been invited by Natural England to apply for Higher Level Stewardship . Could I help? The farm was within the Upper Thames river valleys project area, so a few days later I met...
  • 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: The Benefits to Wider Biodiversity of Land Management for Cirl Buntings

    Having recently started as an intern on the cirl bunting project, I am learning all the time about agri-environment schemes and the work that the RSPB does with farmers. For example, I learned that cirl bunting project staff have influenced the application of agri-environment schemes on over 10,000 hectares...
  • 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: Announcements on RDP funding for Northern Ireland

    RSPB Northern Ireland has welcomed Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill’s long-awaited announcement of funds for the Rural Development Programme (RDP). The 2014-2020 RDP could now be worth £623m, with funding supporting a range of priorities which together will lead to the enhancement...
  • Blog Post: Blue skies, Cereals and greening

    It's been a busy few weeks on the farming advice front, what with Open Farm Sunday, show season getting in to full swing and the recent announcements on greening from Defra. If you haven't had chance to read Martin Harper's blog on our response to the announcement, you can do that here ....
  • Blog Post: A spotlight on Scotland

    Having just spent a glorious week in the Highlands, it seems very timely to turn the blog spotlight on some of the brilliant project work going on across Scotland . Because there's so much going on, I'll be posting a series of updates over the next few days. Today, we'll kick off with what's...
  • 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: Sharing best practice across Europe...and beyond!

    The most worthwhile thing in my opinion about working for a nature conservation charity is being able to share our learning and in turn learn from others. For over 10 years, I managed volunteers surveying farmland for the Volunteer & Farmer Alliance (V&FA) project. In its later years, the...
  • Blog Post: Farming for waders

    Posted on behalf of Dr Rebecca Laidlaw, Conservation Scientist Last year Dr Jen Smart wrote a guest blog for Martin Harper called “Where have all the waders gone and how are we going to get them back?” In that blog, she identified some key things that will be important if our vision of...