|Two proud lads!|
As I have mentioned before on this blog, there has been an enormous sea-change in the attitude of farmers across the country towards conservation in the last 20 years or so.
Not only have farmers embraced conservation and now most (73% are in a Stewardship scheme) integrate management options for soil, water and wildlife into their farm businesses, but they have also started to work alongside the local community in a much better way. I think that most farmers would freely admit that they have not engaged that well with the folk that live around them in the past, but events such as “open farm Sunday” and “Farmer’s markets” have helped to start to strengthen these links.
I have also discussed how important it is to involve young people from all walks of life, so that they start to understand a little more about how the countryside is run, where their food comes from and to “open” their eyes to some of the beauty that surrounds them, whether that is a stunning landscape or a tiny flower.
One great example of the progress being made, which I happen to be involved with, is the formation of the farmer led Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area. Farmers have joined forces to manage a whole landscape, rather than just their own individual farms, so that they can collectively have a greater impact by all “pulling in the same direction”.
Here is a link to demonstrate how farmers, local conservation experts and youngsters have all come together to great affect: http://www.marlboroughnewsonline.co.uk/features/general/2809-marlborough-downs-farmers-are-bringing-tree-sparrows-back-from-catastrophic-decline-with-some-enthusiastic-helpers
Now if this isn't a good news story – then I don’t know what is!!