Last call for farming award applications

The RSPB South East is putting out a final call to farmers in West Sussex for applications for this year’s Nature of Farming Award, with entries being accepted until April 30.

The competition aims to recognise and reward farmers who are making efforts on their land to help threatened countryside species.

All the details on how to enter can be found on the RSPB website at www.rspb.org.uk/natureoffarming.

Bruce Fowkes RSPB farmland advisor in the South East said: “Past winners in the south east have included dairy, arable and livestock farms, so it’s worth applying no matter what kind of farm you have.

“This year’s new Highly Commended category also means that there will be a greater chance for farmers to win recognition at the regional level than in previous years.

“The judges will be looking for efforts to promote wildlife on farmland, for example by providing nesting habitat, and summer and winter food for birds.”

A large proportion of land in the south east is farmland, which supports a wide range of animals and plants.

Unfortunately, some of these species such as Lapwing, Brown Hare and cornflower are struggling, and farmers hold the key to their future.

Bruce added, “We fully recognise the challenges involved in trying to protect wildlife while producing vast amounts of food. Your farm doesn’t have to resemble a nature reserve to qualify – even small efforts here and there can make an important difference to species in trouble.”

After the closing date, entries will be shortlisted to eight regional winners. A panel of experts will decide which four should go through to the national finals, and then the UK public will decide the winner by casting their votes online via The Telegraph or at country shows throughout the summer.