8 October 2012
The RSPB hosted a ‘Farmer Breakfast’ this morning in the Long Gallery, Stormont and welcomed a range of MLAs, farmers and officials from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) to discuss the importance of wildlife friendly farming locally.
Speaking after the Breakfast, John Martin, Acting Conservation Manager (Policy and Advocacy) said, “The RSPB works with more than 300 farmers in Northern Ireland, primarily providing advice and ‘on the ground’ support on a range of issues, including the protection of a range of countryside species such as lapwing and yellowhammer.
“Today’s event was a thank you to those farmers who work tirelessly to ensure that their farming practices are sustainable and have nature at their heart. It was also an opportunity for them to tell their stories to their local MLAs and in turn, for MLAs to hear about the good work on-going in their constituencies.
“As we all know, agriculture is a difficult profession and many farmers are prepared to go the extra mile to protect the countryside and the wildlife on their land. This is one of the reasons why the RSPB champion Agri-Environment Schemes, and has been calling on Government to expand these schemes which deliver much needed financial support for rural communities whilst protecting native wildlife. The RSPB believes that these schemes are the best mechanism for delivering for biodiversity. “
Changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will have a fundamental impact on agriculture in the medium to long term. The RSPB believes that the CAP has the potential to deliver significant environmental and social benefits, however current reform proposals risk missing a valuable opportunity to create more sustainable farming systems, where local farmers are rewarded for environmental protection. The RSPB is working hard at Stormont, Westminster and Brussels to ensure the CAP has nature at its heart.
The RSPB will continue to work with those who are committed to delivering a countryside rich in wildlife for current and future generations.