On Thursday evening I took part in an event in Ely where the RSPB laid out our Fens Futurescapes plans to a room full of farmers and others. It was also by way of a big 'thank you' to farmers with whom we have been working in the Fens for years on farmland bird recovery projects.
It was nice to see the event and the project covered very positively in Farmers' Guardian and Farmers' Weekly.
Several farmers on the night came and thanked me for the help of local RSPB staff in filling in forms (at no charge) which led to HLS agreements coming their way and for the RSPB's campaign over the summer to protect agri-environment funding from potential government cuts. It was very easy to 'love these farmers to bits' - because they are 'stepping up for nature'.
This was the type of event that cheers me up. I had a stinking cold, had been late to bed the night before, early up that morning and had an almost 2 hour drive home from Ely in front of me - but as I left I was buoyed up by the warmth of the farmers in the audience and the obviously good working relationships that we have with them.
The Fens are special - big skies and open landscapes. Together we can fill the air with the sound of buzzing bumblebees and singing skylarks - we can turn up the volume on the Fenland Futurescape.
Notice that some farmers are ploughing close to hedges again and wonder if scheme has changed values or have farmers realised they have a very very limited benefit to wildlife,really hope they can be persuaded to sow a small area of bird seed area in each parish or similar,perhaps even RSPB could push for something like that in HLS or perhaps they already do,if so well done.This is definitely one way of providing food for small birds over the winter,perhaps replacing the old practice of some stubbles being left over winter simply because the horses or later the smaller tractor ploughs just simply did not have the capacity to get round to doing it.
Agree completely Mark it is good that we are close perhaps even on most things,and from one of your old comments it shows how discussion gives a chance to understand other views.
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