What will encourage farmers to step up for nature?
Last modified: 07 June 2011
Why are some agri-environment options more popular than others? That’s just one of the questions being asked of farmers by the RSPB at Cereals 2011,where the charity’s area (stand C430) will be focused on asking farmers to step up for nature. Through the debate on CAP reform at the Arable Conference, a light-hearted poll and in-depth survey, the RSPB hopes to establish ways of encouraging more wildlife-friendly farming and continue campaigning for recognition and rewards for those farmers who are already stepping up for nature.
Visitors to Cereals 2011 are also invited to the RSPB’s stand to meet the charity’s new director of conservation, Martin Harper.
Martin, who will be at the stand on the first day of the show (Wed 15 June) at 2-3pm, said: “We recognise how important the farming community is when it comes to protecting wildlife so I’m really looking forward to this event and meeting many of the great farmers who’ve already stepped up for nature.
“We already work closely with many farmers; giving advice, offering practical support and using the RSPB’s Hope Farm to develop and trial new farming techniques that can produce food cost-effectively and benefit wildlife. Hopefully by doing this we can encourage more farmers to get involved.
The RSPB is delighted to be one of the sponsors of the Arable Conference and will be taking part in the debate on CAP reform on the second day of the event (Thursday). Gareth Morgan, the RSPB’s head of countryside and species conservation, said of the debate: “The Common Agricultural Policy must properly recognise and reward farmers for the additional work they do for biodiversity and the natural environment. It is vital that well designed agri-environment schemes get a much bigger share of the CAP budget to help farming become more sustainable across Europe.”
The poll, to find out what would encourage farmers to do more for wildlife on their farms, will be a big feature of the conservation charity’s stand over both days. Visitors will be able to take part in the highly-visual poll by selecting the reason that most applies to them from a choice of three. Attendees who revisit the stand throughout the event will be able to check the progress of the poll and see which choice is coming out on top. For a more detailed look at agri-environment schemes, the RSPB team will also be asking visitors to take part in a confidential survey. This survey produced by the Voluntary Initiative, aims to establish the barriers stopping some farmers from employing environmental measures on their farms. The data collected will provide an insight into why some agri-environment methods are more favoured than others and help the RSPB to continue its campaign to encourage more farmers to adopt key agri-environment options and get the recognition they deserve.
As a thank you, farmers who take part in the survey will be treated to a special gift – a Stepping Up for Nature wipe-clean arable wall planner, which lists tips and advice about what to do for wildlife in the countryside and the best times to do it.
The EU LIFE+ Programme funds RSPB work which supports wildlife-friendly farming that furthers sustainable development in the European Union.