• 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
  • Hope Farm 20th Anniversary Webinar Series - 1 - A tried and tested plan for wildlife-friendly farming?

    A summary of the 1st Webinar in Hope Farm's 20th Anniversary series, by Sophie Mott, RSPB’s Conservation Advisor for Cambridgeshire

    In celebration of Hope farm’s 20th anniversary we are doing something a little different, with the launch of a series of five webinars. The webinars welcome anybody interested in nature-based solutions on farmland and touch on a few lessons we’ve learnt over the last 20…

    • 6 Dec 2020
  • Cover Crops and bird populations at Hope Farm

    Olivia Martin, an MSc Zoology student from Anglia Ruskin University, investigated the impact of cover crops, cultivations, and other crops on winter bird populations, using 5 years worth of monitoring data at Hope farm. 

    In the U.K., many bird species are seeing their populations decline, partly due to the way we farm the land. To target and stop these declines, wildlife-friendly farming techniques are being investigated…

    • 13 Nov 2020
  • Celebrating 20 years of Hope Farm

    Back in 2000, the RSPB was looking to purchase a farm, to demonstrate and research wildlife-friendly farming methods that would still turn a profit. A pin was put in the map between Elsworth and Knapwell in Cambridgeshireand Grange Farm (now named Hope Farm) was purchased from the Sandercock family.  

    Our aspiration was to halt the ongoing decline of red-listed and endangered species that had relied on farming practices to survive…

    • 9 Nov 2020
  • England Food Strategy: can tariffs protect nature?

    Lucy Bjorck, Senior Policy Officer at the RSPB, talks about part one of the Food Strategy, launched this week.

    Part one of the Food Strategy was launched yesterday. Much of it rightly focuses on ensuring everyone can eat well but it also has some important recommendations on trade, which have implications for nature.

    Many of the issues which beset our food system - high climate change impact, deforestation, unsustainable…

    • 30 Jul 2020
  • Flower Power

    Flowers are a fundamental part of a sustainable farming system. Without flowers, the ability of biodiversity to thrive and in turn help us grow food is very limited. We need connected flower-rich habitats to help reverse the ongoing decline in biodiversity, and we need a stable ecosystem for our food security.  Surely, though, we have seen declining biodiversity over the last 50 years, but consistently higher yields? Well…

    • 12 May 2020
  • Farming with Nature

    A blog by Chris Bailey - RSPB Scotland's advisory manager

    RSPB Scotland has extended its relationship with Soil Association Scotland, Scottish Forestry and Scottish Water to deliver the Farming with Nature Programme for another year. Originally the programme was due to run for just two and a-half years jointly funded by the partners and through the Scottish Government Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KITF)…

    • 3 Mar 2020
  • Curlew: A species on the brink

    A blog by Katie Gibb, RSPB's Conservation Officer for Antrim Plateau

    The curlew is undoubtedly one of the most recognisable UK bird species; it is entrenched and entangled in our stories, its haunting call is the soundscape that captures the essence of our moorlands.

    However, curlews, like many of the UK's farmland birds, have seen dramatic population declines within living memory. Within Northern Ireland alone, they…

    • 27 Feb 2020
  • The importance of soil health

    A blog on soil health by Georgie Bray - RSPB's Hope Farm Manager

    Playing the waiting game!

    Sitting in the farmhouse office, looking at another day with grey skies and puddles on the patio, you can’t help but wonder how much more rain can fall from the sky. It has been one of the wettest winters in our memory at Hope Farm, and although my memory is short, many other farmers have been saying how abnormally difficult…

    • 16 Feb 2020
  • Cutting (h)edge management at Hope Farm

    In this blog, Paul Cabrisy, research intern at RSPB Hope Farm, explains the importance of hedges and correctly managing them on a farm. Paul also tells us the outcome of a study carried by a masters student who looked at different preferences of farmland bird species to different frequencies of hedgerow management at Hope Farm.

    The importance of hedgerows

    Hedgerows are highly important to farms’ wildlife as, in the UK…

    • 13 Feb 2020
  • Oxford Real Farming Conference part 5 - Climate and Net Zero

    Citizen’s Assembly: Emergency Plan for Agriculture and Wildlife

    Climate and Net Zero - by Mair Floyd-Bosley and Melanie Coath (RSPB - climate change policy)

    Agriculture in the UK produces 45.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, 10% of UK total GHG emissions, including significant methane and nitrous oxide contributions. At the same time, the continuing decline of nature is both exacerbated by, and accelerating, climate…

    • 10 Feb 2020
  • Oxford Real Farming Conference part 4 - a Just Transition

    Citizen’s Assembly: Emergency Plan for Agriculture and Wildlife

    A Just Transition - by Mair Floyd-Bosley (RSPB policy assistant) and Sorcha Lewis (high-nature value farmer in Wales)

    This discussion was geared around building a fair and equitable shift for everyone, especially farmers, who are the most directly affected by an ambitious change in our food system. Moving towards payments for public goods has the potential…

    • 6 Feb 2020
  • Oxford Real Farming Conference part 3 - agroecology and regenerative farming

    Citizen’s Assembly: Emergency Plan for Agriculture and Wildlife

    In our first blog in this series we reported on some of the discussions which RSPB was involved in at the Oxford Real Farming Conference. One of our aims for attending the conference was to crowdsource ideas to contribute to an Emergency Plan for Agriculture and Wildlife through a Citizens’ Assembly. In this blog we highlight some of the ideas which…

    • 30 Jan 2020