Rob Kynaston, Nature of Farming Award finalist 2011, and committed wildlife-friendly farmer
The collapse of the EU budget talks in Brussels last week was no real surprise – and hopefully (as some commenting on Martin Harper’s blog on Friday said), it will allow more time to develop a better solution. Certainly we hope so, as the indications for wildlife were alarming, so we’ll need everyone to be stomping their feet for nature when the talks resume early next year. (Watch this space for ways to band together to make the noise louder.)
Coincidentally, this week I’m heading off to Brussels for a conference about the positive impact of well-targeted funding on struggling farm wildlife. Delegates from across Europe will hear how 3 years of EU LIFE+ funding has helped the RSPB help more farmers to help more wildlife. Farmers such as Rob (shown above), volunteers and RSPB staff will share our successes, our learnings, and how similar activities could work elsewhere.
I’m looking forward to the conference. It’s always great to hear experiences from those in the field. And its come at an important time - now more than ever we need to support and spread the word about wildlife-friendly farming.
The battle to save vital agrienvironment schemes continues - see Martin Harper's blog today to read what farmers are saying to David Cameron.
And don't forget to sign the petition on www.rspb.org.uk/steppingup to help wildlife-friendly farmers if you haven't already - today is your last chance before David Cameron does to the EU summit this week.
Earlier this year Farmers Guardian reported the results of a survey showing that almost 9 out of 10 farmers agree that environmental management and wildlife conservation are important parts of their farm management. You won’t be surprised that it’s something we whole-heartedly agree with!
On Friday we shared the results of a new survey that we conducted. We found that over 9 out of 10 farmers believe that this important environmental management will be damaged if agri-environment schemes are stopped or reduced.
It’s not too hard to work out why. Farmers get paid for food production (often not enough, but that’s another story). They currently get paid for some environmental work too. If that funding gets cut, then in these tough economic times inevitably environmental work will get cut too.
The role of farming in society has always been so much more than just food production. The RSPB have long campaigned for farmers to be adequately paid for the environmental work we all need them to do. We believe (puffing out our own feathers here!) that we have played a pretty big part in getting agrienvironment schemes in place. We continue to fight for these schemes to be improved so they work even better for more famers and more wildlife.
But this funding is under significant threat. As Martin Harper shared last week the budget for agrienvironment schemes could be drastically slashed. Agrienvironment schemes are a tiny part of the overall Common Agricultural Policy budget, but they are vital for a healthy countryside and a healthy future for farming. We need you to fight with us for funds to be used more wisely, and agrienvironemnt schemes to be protected.
This week David Cameron will be in Brussels for the European Heads of State meeting on 22-23 November where the future of the EU's budget, including the amount of money spent on agriculture, will be discussed.
Please be a savvy cat and tell Mr Cameron to safeguard agrienvironment schemes during these talks, and get value for the money spent on agriculture by visiting www.rspb.org.uk/steppingup Hurry - the petition closes tomorrow.
Cat on dry grass Attribution-ShareAlike © John