19 December 2012
Image: Andy Hay
The Volunteer & Farmer Alliance (V&FA) project, which has been running since 1999, has been enormously successful in engaging with farmers by providing bird surveys and general conservation advice.
It has been instrumental in helping us build vital relationships with the farming community. Over the past three years we have been able to roll out the project across the whole of the UK thanks to funding from the European Union’s Life+ scheme. However, this funding is coming to an end and we have decided that the V&FA project needs to develop as we move forward into 2013.
Following a detailed review of how we deliver conservation advice to farmers, we have decided on a fresh approach. Rather than survey and provide advice across the whole of the UK, we will focus our advice and surveying resources on a series of target areas, chosen carefully for their importance for farmland wildlife.
We will be delivering targeted land management advice and monitoring its impact through regular repeat surveys. We hope that, in time, we will be able to use these areas as models of best practice, and use the monitoring to test how much difference wildlife-friendly farming makes.
We are also developing the means of providing advice and support for farmers outside of our target areas, where we may not be able to give direct advice ourselves.
More information will be available in the New Year.