The RSPB is searching for local farmers who go the extra mile to give nature a home on their land.
The charity is sponsoring a new category at this year’s Farming Life and Danske Bank awards which will see one Wildlife Friendly Farmer crowned at a prestigious ceremony later this year.
The annual awards celebrate excellence in farming and recognise individuals and businesses in the agri-sector that go the extra mile. The RSPB is well-aware that there are already many farmers doing their bit to protect threatened species and habitats, within and outside agri-environment schemes.
RSPB NI’s Senior Conservation Officer Claire Barnett commented: “We are delighted to be involved in this year’s Farming Life and Danske Bank awards and we feel the addition of the Wildlife Friendly Farmer category fits well with the ethos of the competition – to discover and celebrate the people and organisations that represent the best of the industry here.”
She added: “We’re encouraging farmers, or anyone who knows a worthy winner, not to be shy!
We need farmers’ help to halt and reverse the decline of some of our most iconic species and by showing it’s possible to protect nature while also running a profitable business they are a wonderful example to others.”
The RSPB’s involvement with the Farming Life awards follows on from their own Nature of Farming competition which last year saw County Armagh farmer Tim McClelland scoop silver in the UK-wide search.
Tim’s arable farm was a perfect example of how a large, commercially successful farm can support a diverse range of birds and wildlife.
The public were inspired by the work he does across 270 acres, such as sowing wild bird cover, leaving rough grass margins around his fields for insects and planting hedgerows to provide habitats for a range of wildlife.
As a result of his efforts, his farm attracts seed-eating species like the yellowhammer, tree sparrow and the linnet as well as butterflies, bees and mammals including the Irish hare and soprano pipistrelle bat.
Tim said: “My aim was to get across the message that farmers are more than just food producers, we are the custodians of the countryside.”
The closing date for the Farming Life and Danske Bank nominations is 30 August so get your entries in now to be in the running for one of the top awards in Northern Ireland agriculture!
The awards will be held in the Ramada Hotel, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast on 30 October.
For an application form, please contact RSPB NI by calling 028 9049 1547 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also apply online at farminglife.com/news/farming-life-danske-bank-awards