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Can you help find the country’s most wildlife-friendly farmer

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

By GARETH BUTTERFIELD

12/02/13 HS2 Farmer - Manor Farm, Uttoxeter Road, Blithbury
Luke Mellor - Farmer who owns a farm in Blythbury will be effected by the new HS2.

12/02/13 HS2 Farmer - Manor Farm, Uttoxeter Road, Blithbury Luke Mellor - Farmer who owns a farm in Blythbury will be effected by the new HS2.

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The RSPB has launched its annual search to find the UK’s most wildlife-friendly farmer.

The Nature of Farming Award, which is run by the RSPB and supported by Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife, celebrates farmers who work hardest to help threatened countryside wildlife, such as skylarks, brown hares, bees, butterflies and plants.

Applications for this year’s award will be accepted until Thursday, April 18 when judges will begin selecting eight regional winners, and then a panel of experts will decide which four should go through to the national finals.

There will also be a highly commended category, to recognise the efforts of farmers who have excelled in their support of farmland wildlife.

When the competition reaches its final stage, the public will decide on an overall winner. People can cast their votes online, over the phone, or at country shows throughout the summer.

RSPB’s head of conservation management and one of this year’s judges, Nick Droy, said: “More and more farmers are recognising that running a profitable farm business and helping wildlife on your land can go hand in hand.

The RSPB provides advice to help farmers do their bit for nature on their farm and we’ll support them every step of the way, but ultimately, it’s them and their local communities that do the hard work. They’re the real heroes.

“The recent EU Budget deal dealt a terrible hand to Europe’s wildlife, with potentially huge cuts to wildlife friendly farming schemes. But there is hope for the UK, a country which has led the way in investing in this field.”

Judges include Mr Droy; Martin Warren, butterfly conservation chief executive; Victoria Chester, plant life chief executive and Countryfile Magazine editor Fergus Collins.

To find out more visit www.rspb.org.uk/natureoffarming

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