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Last modified: 26 July 2013
Image: The RSPB
A Powys husband and wife farming team have been named as one of the finalists in this year’s RSPB Telegraph Nature of Farming Award.
Sorcha and Brian Lewis are tenants of Troedrhiwdrain Farm - which is owned by Welsh Water Elan Valley Trust - in the Elan Valley near Rhayader, and have won the Wales round of the competition for their achievements in looking after wildlife and the environment while running a productive hill farm.
They were presented with their award at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show (Wednesday 24 July) by Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food. They will now go forward to the final round of the competition, and face a public vote to find the UK’s most wildlife-friendly farmer.
The third generation tenants, Sorcha and Brian Lewis have spent the last 10 years developing the productivity of the farm, whilst successfully retaining and incorporating many important habitats. One valuable and increasingly rare habitat are the traditional hay meadows, these help produce quality slow grown lambs and also provide curlew, pied flycatcher and small pearl bordered fritillary with somewhere to live
Sorcha Lewis said: “'I’m delighted that our farm has been recognised in the Wales’ Nature of Farming Award this year. Our ambition is to showcase our work on the farm to more members of the public, either by offering more farm walks and through our new website.”
Alun Davies AM said: “Sorcha and Brian Lewis are an inspiration. Their commitment to environmental stewardship has enabled them to make the most of their hill farm in Powys and their efforts mean that Troedrhiwdrain now support species like the Welsh clearwing, Globe flower and Curlew. I congratulate them on their success so far and wish them all the best in the UK final.”
Now in its sixth year, the Nature of Farming Award celebrates farmers who do wonderful things for nature and find the individual who has done the most on their land to help our special but threatened countryside wildlife. It is run by the RSPB, supported by Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife, and sponsored by The Telegraph.
The award was set up to help share wildlife-friendly farming practice and encourage public awareness of the important role we need farmers to play in conservation. It celebrates farmers who work hardest to help threatened countryside wildlife, such as skylarks, brown hares, bees, butterflies and plants.
This year, for the first time, the judges have selected eight finalists rather than four – each one representing a different region in England (north, east, midlands, south east and south west) and one for each of the countries. The overall winner will be selected using a combination of judges’ scores and public vote [see editors’ notes].
People are invited to vote online, by phone, post, or at various country shows. Information on how to vote can be found at rspb.org.uk/farmvote
Everyone who votes will be automatically entered into a free prize draw for a luxury break for two people with Millennium Hotels. Votes can be cast until 31 August 2013 and the winner will be announced in September.
The Nature of Farming Award is funded by the EU LIFE+ programme, safeguarding the future of our farmland birds under the EU Birds Directive.
We're celebrating farmers who do wonderful things for nature. It's time to cast your vote!