As usual, RSPB staff will be in attendance at various shows and events around the UK over the coming months. The Balmoral Show has already taken place (see a round up of the goings-on below), or if you're after some advice, want to share your experiences or just to catch up with your local team, read on to find out where you can do that.
The Balmoral show represents Northern Ireland’s largest agricultural event. Each year around 115,000 people make their way to the Maze site, just outside Lisburn, to celebrate all that is good about food and farming in Northern Ireland. This year marked the 150th year of the show, making it a real reason to celebrate. This was no different for us at RSPBNI who used the event to showcase some of the great work that farmers are doing for nature across Northern Ireland. This year we received a huge amount of interest from farmers who want to see nature thrive on their land, whether they’re in county Down, Antrim or Tyrone. We connected with a large number of new farmers looking for support and advice regarding conservation management on their land, who we will be following up with in the coming weeks.
Conservation Advisor Sean Woods advertising RSPB advisory services. Image: RSPB
Additionally, we received a great deal of support from existing farmers that we work with, some of whom volunteered their time to help us out during through the days, for this we are extremely grateful. We also took part in the launch of the Nature Matters Campaign, which is a coalition of environmental organisations in NI working together to achieve a Nature friendly Brexit. This event focused particularly on the opportunity to work together to transform agricultural policy in Northern Ireland, so that it supports farmers to provide environmental public goods, such as clean water and air, healthy soils and a countryside where wildlife thrives. There was good attendance from across the board, including politicians, civil servants, agri-stakeholders and environmental organisations. With this, there is optimism that we can achieve a deal that is good for nature, fair to farmers and benefit society through the delivery of environmental public goods.
Adam Kelly, a County Down Farmer who supports Nature Friendly Farming on his farm. Image: RSPB
This year was certainly a success, demonstrating that there is a growing appetite for nature friendly farming in Northern Ireland, long may it continue.
Cereals - 13-14 June
We will be attending Cereals at Chrishall Grange, Cambridge. Come and see us at stand 217 where you can talk to our advisors about how to create habitat for specialist farmland species such as turtle doves, corn buntings and lapwings. Meet our guest farmers who have already adopted these measures on their farms and find out how they’ve incorporated these options alongside a sustainable and profitable farm business. We also want to hear from you - what are your thoughts on the future of food and farming in the UK? Our Voxpop team will be on hand to capture what you think the future should look like for the farming sector.
Join the debate with Jenna Hegarty, RSPB Head of Land Use Policy who will be a panel member for the session ‘publicly reducing our impact’ in the Cereals Controversial Marquee at 2pm on Thursday 14th June. Farming is in the spotlight. How should farmers demonstrate their environmentally and socially responsible activities to a wider public?
If you need to top up your CPD points for the year, for the second year running our stand is part of the BASIS knowledge trail, pick up a quiz card to test your knowledge to collect a CPD point, staff and guest farmers will be on hand to help - should you need it.
Or perhaps you fancy trying your luck in entering our competition to win a hamper packed full of goodies including some produce from ‘Fair to Nature’ accredited farms.
Royal Highland Show – 21st-24th June
At the Royal Highland Show, advisory and policy staff will be present on the RSPB stand to engage with farmers and decision makers. We will be on-hand to discuss our food policy and our advisory work focused on waders, corn bunting and corncrake. On Thursday and Friday we will be joined by a number of Nature Friendly Farming Network farmers who will share their experiences of delivering wildlife friendly farming.
Royal Welsh Show - 23-26 July
RSPB Cymru will be at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show at the showground in Llanelwedd. We will be based in the Countryside Care area (stand 800, next to the ponds!)
On Tuesday 24th July, 3pm - 4pm, RSPB Cymru along with CLA Cymru, Wildlife Trusts Wales, National Trust Wales, Coed Cadw - Woodland Trust, and WWF Cymru have organised and event to celebrate the unique opportunity Brexit presents to develop a new approach to land management in Wales that will benefit the environment, land managers and wider society. The event will be held at the Woodland Trust’s stand in the Countryside Care Area and will include an introduction by Lesley Griffiths, the Cabinet Secretary for Energy Planning and Rural Affairs, along with a talk from three farmers representing diverse farm businesses from across Wales. We will finish off with an informal tasting session with produce provided by the three farmers. There will be a warm welcome to all who wish to attend.
The Nature Friendly Farming Network will be located adjacent to the RSPB Cymru stand - a group of farmers who have come together to champion a way of farming which is sustainable and good for nature. Again, feel free to pop over for a chat about anything to do with nature and farming.