• An update on the Hope Farm cover crop and compost trial

    Guest blog by Georgie Bray, Hope Farm Manager Soil is the foundation that helps us to grow crops on the farm and look after so many of the species sitting at the base of the food chain in farmland ecosystems. Without healthy soils, crops suffer in ou...
    • 26 Nov 2021
  • What does the future hold for agriculture and food policy in Northern Ireland? A detailed look

    Ruairi Brogan, Sustainable Agriculture Policy Officer tells us more. Stormont, the Northern Ireland Assembly Building. Image (c) Simon Graham It’s been a busy period for the RSPB NI Policy & Advocacy team with the Department of Agricultur...
    • 26 Nov 2021
  • Welsh Agriculture Act and Sustainable Farming Scheme

    RSPB Cymru views the creation of a new Welsh Agriculture Act and Sustainable Farming Scheme as a unique opportunity to use taxpayers’ money to establish sustainable farming that helps tackle the nature and climate emergency. As such we welcome Welsh Government...

    • 23 Nov 2021
  • In review - the first year post-Brexit for farming

    Guest blog by Lucy Bjorck, Senior Policy Officer Whatever your views on Brexit there was always one obvious opportunity for radical change for the better and that was to leave the shackles of the behemoth which is the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP...
    • 22 Nov 2021
  • New rural development programme in Scotland - What does it mean for food and farming

    Guest blog by Andrew Stark, Land Use Policy Officer and Chris Bailey, Advisory Manager Scotland Since the last edition of Farming E-News, there has been several important developments in Scotland’s food and farming policy to update on. Whi...
    • 19 Nov 2021
  • The future of agri-environment delivery in England

    Guest blog by Alice Groom, Senior Policy Officer In England, Defra is currently reforming agricultural policies, replacing subsidy primarily with environmental payments. This provides a once in a generation opportunity to truly build a nature friendl...
    • 12 Nov 2021
  • Working together to restore nature on farmland

    Guest blog by Shelley Abbott, Fair to Nature Technical Facilitator, RSPB

    The twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change are increasingly forefront in the news. Especially here in the UK with COP26 just days away! But are they separate crises? Surely biodiversity and climate are closely intertwined, where changes in one have an impact on the other?! Human activity impacts them both.

    Image: Large skipper butterfly…

    • 8 Oct 2021
  • Volunteer Monitoring of Farm Wildlife

    Guest blog by Jenny Atkins, Agriculture Advice Project Manager

    During the last year in Cambridgeshire initially, we have been working on an inspirational scheme that trains participants to monitor a wide range of farm wildlife, provides multi-taxa surveys for farmers, introduces a greater diversity of volunteers to our work and delivers meaningful conservation outcomes yet remains cost-effective to manage. For the farmers…

    • 2 Sep 2021
  • Carbon and agroforestry at Hope Farm - new project underway

    Guest blog by Sophie Mott, Carbon Farming Project Manager and Georgie Bray, Hope Farm Manager

    Why are we interested in Carbon at Hope farm?

    Recently, hard to read science underlined the ever-closing gap in our opportunity to halt the increase in temperature beyond 1.5 degrees. A shocking statistic, and that is without the full understanding of what this may mean for nature, where we live, and our ability to farm. Given…

    • 2 Sep 2021
  • Valuing Our Peatland - Environmental and societal benefits delivered through peatland restoration

    Guest blog by Jonathan Bell, Head of Land and Sea Policy, RSPB NI and Ruairi Brogan, Policy Officer - Sustainable Agriculture, RSPB NI

    In Northern Ireland, peatland covers 24.6% of our land area and represent some of our most iconic landscapes. When healthy and well-functioning, these mossy, wetland soils can provide a vast array of benefits to society, from improved water quality, natural flood management, and carbon…

    • 1 Sep 2021
  • Farming with nature-based solutions at the heart

    Guest blog by Roisin Beck-Taylor, Project Manager - Policy Climate Change Task and Finish Group and Brittany Mulhearn, Senior Campaigner

    From lobbying government for new climate polices to helping our nature reserves cope with the effects of climate change, the RSPB is working hard to make a difference.

    We are seeing the impacts of extreme weather events caused by climate change on the people and places we love both here…

    • 1 Sep 2021
  • Food and farming that’s Fair to Nature

    Fair to Nature is the only UK farm scheme to deliver the scale of land management wildlife requires to thrive. Find out more about this gold standard for nature-friendly farming and how it is helping farmers to create and manage diverse and successful wildlife habitats and linking them up with like-minded businesses to create Fair to Nature certified products.
    • 3 Jun 2021
  • Review of Agri-Food must work for Nature

    Northern Ireland’s Agri-Food Sector can play a pivotal role in addressing the nature and climate nature and climate emergency, at the same time as providing economic opportunities for rural communities and supporting healthier, sustainable diets. An Independent Strategic Review of the NI Agri-Food Sector (ISRAF) will consider the challenges and opportunities facing the agri-food sector in Northern Ireland and will play…
    • 26 May 2021
  • Sharing farmer knowledge across the farming sector on ways to work with nature to reduce pesticide use – IPM survey.

    Guest blog by Steph Morren, Senior Policy Officer 

    Take the survey here

    Increasingly, farmers and other land managers are looking for ways to reduce their reliance on pesticides. This is due to a number of reasons including concern for the environment, concern for their health, concern about their soil health and concern about cost. As we move towards new land management schemes that will pay farmers for delivering public…

    • 25 May 2021
  • What the outcomes from the Welsh and Scottish elections mean for making our food system more nature friendly

    Guest blog from Andrew Stark, Land Use Policy Offer RSPB Scotland and Rhys Evans, Policy Officer RSPB Cymru


    A new Parliament

    On May 6th, Scotland voted in a new Parliament and Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). There were 129 seats up for grabs, with the following results: SNP (64), Conservatives (31), Liberal Democrats (4), Scottish Labour (22), and Scottish Green Party (8). Whilst the SNP were 1 short…

    • 24 May 2021
  • Curlews in crisis - curlew LIFE project launches

    Guest blog by Samantha Lee, Senior Project manager, Curlew LIFE project

    The UK breeding population of curlews has almost halved since the mid-1990s. This is not just a problem because we don’t want to lose this species from our landscapes, but because the UK is one of the most important countries for curlews, supporting approximately 40% of the European breeding population and about a quarter of the global population…

    • 24 May 2021
  • Farming on RSPB Ramsey Island

    Guest blog by Greg Morgan, Site Manager RSPB Ramsey Island and Grassholm

    RSPB Ramsey Island lies a mile off the coast of north Pembrokeshire, about as far west in Wales as you can go. The island is famed for its population of chough, a rare member of the crow family that nests in sea caves and favours coastal locations on the western seaboard of the UK.

    Gathering sheep on Ramsey Island. Image (c) Greg Morgan, RSPB


    • 3 May 2021
  • Hope Farm 20th Anniversary Webinar Series 3 – Ecological Intensification

    A summary of the 3rd Webinar in Hope Farm's 20th Anniversary series, by Sophie Mott, RSPB’s Conservation Advisor for Cambridgeshire 

    Here we are again! If you’ve gotten this far perhaps you’ve seen the previous two webinar posts or indeed the webinars themselves. In case you haven’t, I’ll tell you what it’s all about. Hope farm is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year, and to…

    • 19 Mar 2021
  • Hope Farm webinar series - celebrating 20 years of Hope Farm

    Post by Georgie Bray, Hope Farm manager

    For the last two decades, one mission for Hope Farm has been to develop a hub of knowledge sharing on wildlife-friendly farming. As we were unable to celebrate our 20 year milestone in the traditional way, we launched a series of webinars to do just that.

    Over the last few months, we have looked at the following topics and the key ways that they might be achieved:

    • habitat management…
    • 26 Feb 2021
  • Consultation on Agri Bill in Wales - Have your say

    Before Christmas, the Welsh Government launched its Agriculture (Wales) White Paper - an important consultation that sets out the legislative and support framework for Welsh agriculture for the next fifteen to twenty years. We set out our thoughts on the proposals, and encourage you to submit your own response to the consultation.
    • 25 Feb 2021
  • Future farm funding in Scotland

    Guest blog by Andrew Stark, Land Use Policy Officer, RSPB Scotland What is the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme? The Agri-Environment Climate Scheme was introduced to Scotland in 2014 to help support nature and climate friendly farming methods, as par...
    • 25 Feb 2021
  • Elections in Scotland - what we'd like to see for food and farming

    On the 8th May, Scottish voters will go to the polls to decide the make-up of the next Scottish Parliament. Staff in Scotland are busy ensuring that nature is included in discussions around relevant election issues as much possible, and our main ask related to food and farming is to “transform Scottish agricultural policy by 2027 so that it facilitates and rewards nature- and climate-friendly farming.” Find out how that…
    • 24 Feb 2021
  • Northern Ireland: What we learned from our Food, Farming and Land Convention

    Imagine a thriving countryside that’s rich in nature, supports rural livelihoods and helps communities adapt to climate change. Think of a future where nature is cherished for the vital role it plays in supporting our prosperity. This is the vision painted by farmers, producers, policymakers and conservationists at our two-day Food, Farming and Land Convention which took place on February 9 – 10 2021. It’s the resilient…
    • 19 Feb 2021
  • Environmental Land Management: the outlook for nature-friendly farming in England

    Guest blog by Alice Groom, Senior Policy Officer

    Defra set out a robust and ambitious vision for domestic agricultural policies in the Health and Harmony consultation in 2018. Central to this was a high-level of environmental ambition, and commitment to redirect public money from area-based subsidies to public goods via a new environmental land management scheme.

    Since 2018, it feels as if the ambition is waning as Defra…

    • 12 Feb 2021
  • Hope Farm 20th Anniversary Webinar Series - Webinar 2 Cover Crops, Soil Health and Biodiversity

     A summary of the 2nd Webinar in Hope Farm's 20th Anniversary series, by Sophie Mott, RSPB’s Conservation Advisor for Cambridgeshire

     If you’ve read the previous blog, you’ll already know about Hope Farm’s 20th Anniversary Webinar Series, five webinars covering important nature focused farming topics being delivered by industry experts and farmers alike.

    The second webinar of the series took…

    • 5 Jan 2021