Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Working together to conserve the environment

I recently visited High Studdon Farm at Sinderhope, to meet with farmers Nick Howard and  Robert Phillipson, and RSPB representative Janet Fairclough to talk about the work they are doing to encourage birdlife on their farms whilst producing high quality food, and to talk about the future of agriculture policy.  Nick and Robert are both traditional hill farmers, in Higher Level Environmental Stewardship schemes, and both are passionate about the wildlife on their farms, particularly lapwings and curlews.  Both are also members of the Northern Hill Farming Panel - a farmer-led group which aims to promote high nature value farming in the uplands of Northern England. 

The RSPB works closely with Nick and Robert - and many farmers like them - helping them to give nature a home on the land that they manage and to access the support they need to look after the environment. We spoke about how the Agriculture Bill can support farmers like Nick and Robert to produce food and care for the environment. 

I was delighted to be invited to see first-hand the results of the excellent co-operation between upland farmers and the RSPB in the Allen Valleys.  Relationships like this between farmers and environmental organisations prove the point that food production and conservation can go hand in hand in the upland areas of Northumberland.