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Stackyard News Aug 06

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Farmers Encouraged To Enter Conservation Award

NFU Scotland is encouraging farmers and land managers to enter the NFUS Farming and Conservation Award, which is sponsored by RSPB Scotland.


We all recognise the importance of preserving the Scottish countryside, but we do not always take into consideration the variety of life that makes our landscapes some of the most spectacular in the world.

The world is losing biodiversity (the existence of a wide variety of plant and animal species in their natural environments) at an ever-increasing rate as a result of human activity. Whilst it is true that some species of birds and animals have declined over the last few decades, there are others that have increased. Farmers and land managers, and the sensitive farming methods they frequently employ, deserve much of the credit for these increases.

The NFUS Farming & Conservation award aims to recognise and reward the best examples of such positive management for farmland wildlife. There are many farmers whose farming practices benefit priority species and habitats and this award aims to reward that dedication.

Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, said:

“We are delighted to sponsor this important award. Farming is the main force that shapes Scotland’s wildlife habitats, and farming that is done in sympathy with the needs of birds and biodiversity is essential if we are to protect and enhance the countryside. For example we need mixed livestock grazing - by sheep and cattle, and at the right intensity, if the habitats that support the birds of our hills and uplands are to survive. The range of past applications clearly illustrates the diversity and richness of Scottish wildlife and that increasingly farmers and crofters understand the key role that they can play in protecting and enhancing the landscape to everyone’s benefit. This is our chance to say well done, and I look forward to seeing more quality applications and encourage all to apply.”

John Kinnaird, NFUS President, said:

“Few people realise the full extent to which farmers and land managers contribute, in a positive way, to both the countryside itself and to plant, animal and bird species.

“Over the years, farmers have realised how the way in which they farm their land can have a hugely beneficial impact on Scotland’s rural landscapes and species. Significantly, society is demanding not only fresh, local quality food, but also food that is produced in sympathy with the environment and farmers are making an effort to deliver that.

“I am proud that Scotland can boast so many farmers dedicated to the preservation of our entire rural landscapes and I encourage all those who are employing sensitive land management to the benefit of not only their own businesses but also our countryside. In this award, effort is equally as important as achievement, so don’t be discouraged. Apply now!”

The deadline for applications is Monday 11 September 2006. For further details and an application form, please contact Anna Davies on 0131 472 4020 or

link Reward For Protection Of Rare Species & Habitats
link Farmers are stewards of the countryside says Environment Agency
link Defra Wild boar consultation analysis of responses published

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