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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: 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: Wild Bird Cover Crop helps Corn Buntings in Angus and Fife to Survive

    Tracking down corn buntings on several farms throughout Angus and Fife this summer was an amazing experience – walking for hours (and miles) on end through fields and pastures, often in the sunshine, listening to a variety of birds as well as the buzzing of bumble bees and talking to local farmers...
  • 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: Hope Farm inspiring and helping conservationists across Europe

    Since RSPB bought and started managing Hope Farm in 2000 we have hosted a wide range of visitors, from groups of farmers, industry representatives, government officials, MPs and Ministers. All have come to see how we have successfully halted and reversed the declines of farmland birds and farmland wildlife...
  • Blog Post: Fair to Nature farmers compete for title

    Today, we have a guest blog from Simon Tonkin , Conservation Manager at Conservation Grade. Simon explains a bit more about their Fair to Nature farmers, and asks for your support in celebrating some of the best farmers in a new competition. "By growing under the Fair to Nature protocol, all...
  • Blog Post: Highland highlights

    Two weeks ago RSPB attended the Royal Highland Show (RHS). Here, Chris Bailey, Advisory Manager for RSPB Scotland, reflects on the highlights from the show. The Royal Highland Show (RHS) is one of the focal events of the year for RSPB Scotland. With just under 180,000 visitors attending this year...
  • Blog Post: National Organic Cereals

    Earlier this week I joined a barn full of agricultural folk a few miles outside of Milton Keynes at the National Organic Cereals (NOC) event. Run by Organic Farmers & Growers , this annual get together has proven to be a good place to be for several reasons. But first, why organic? In my experience...
  • 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: Pesticide analysis underlines need for more sustainable farming

    A major review of systemic pesticides – the best known of which are neonicotinoids - led by a range of leading scientists has confirmed these chemicals are already causing significant damage to a wide range of beneficial invertebrate species. Additionally the authors have recognised the potential...
  • 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: Hoping for farm visitors on Open Farm Sunday!

    Yesterday, I posted about Open Farm Sunday which takes place across the UK this weekend. This year, we're also holding an event on our very own Hope Farm in Cambridgeshire. Farm Manager, Ian Dillon, tells us more.... "One of the best parts of my job as Hope Farm Manager is showing people...
  • Blog Post: Opening the farm gates for Open Farm Sunday

    Open Farm Sunday 2014 will soon be upon us. Run by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), the project has seen hundreds of farmers across the UK opening up their farm for one Sunday each year since 2006. It is a fantastic opportunity for everyone, young and old, to discover at first hand what it means...
  • Blog Post: Have you seen this bird?

    As the breeding season gets into full swing, farmers and birdwatchers are being urged to keep a lookout for Montagu’s harriers – the rarest breeding bird of prey in the UK, which nests almost entirely on arable farmland. Montagu's harriers make the journey all the way from Senegal...
  • Blog Post: An invitation to Devon Farming, Food and Nature Celebration, Sat 17 May, 10 am - 4 pm

    Extra places available! Devon Farming, Food and Nature Celebration takes place this Saturday 17 May , 10 am-4 pm, on New Churston Farm, Churston, Nr Brixham. This free event is open to anyone involved with Devon's farming, food production and related tourism and we are thrilled that there are...
  • Blog Post: Spotlight on Scotland: Part 3

    Over the last couple of days I've taken you East and North in this virtual tour of our work with farmers and crofters in Scotland. Today is our final stop - where we hear from projects in South and West Scotland.... Clyde Valley Wader Initiative The Upper Clyde Valley is one of the most important...
  • Blog Post: Spotlight on Scotland: Part 2

    Yesterday I introduced you to some of the project work that's going on in the North of Scotland to improve the fortunes of waders, bumblebees and buntings. Today, we travel East to find out what's happening there.... Farmland Bird Lifeline – recovery work for corn buntings in east Scotland...
  • 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: Award for stone-curlew protection project on Downton Abbey estate

    The popular TV series Downton Abbey and the stone-curlew, one of the UK’s rarest and most unusual birds, might not seem to have anything in common at first glance. However, the RSPB Wessex Stone-curlew Project Team has been working with the landowner at Highclere Castle in Hampshire where the...
  • Blog Post: Celebrating farmers' conservation in the Upper Thames

    If someone asked you where to go to see England’s best wetlands for wildlife, where would you suggest? The Fens? Somerset Levels? Chances are that the valleys around the upper reaches of the Thames and its tributaries wouldn’t be the first area you’d think of. However, for waders...
  • Blog Post: The nice young man from the city, and the sparrows in the country

    As soon as I’d said it, I knew I was probably asking for trouble. Mrs H was on the phone, asking about nest boxes for her farm in Warwickshire. She’d agreed to put up 20 new boxes as part of her Higher Level Stewardship agreement and wondered where she could buy some. Unfortunately, being...
  • 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...