A Shropshire farmer has highlighted the work done by growers and livestock producers to look after wildlife.
Sheep and beef producer Rob Alderson opened the gates at Upper Walton Farm, Onibury, to wildlife specialists who recorded nearly 170 plants and 100 animals – including rare bird species and nationally scarce beetles.
Organised by NFU, the Farm Nature Discovery Day saw NFU West Midlands environment adviser Sarah Faulkner join Adrian Pickles and Sue Townsend of the Field Studies Council on the Mr Alderson’s farm.
Other interesting finds included nine plants of note including the common Twayblade orchid and more unexpected species. Red list birds included skylark, tree sparrow, yellow hammer, linnet and song thrush.
Although farmers remain food producers first and foremost, Mrs Faulkner said they were also committed to enhancing the farmed environment – and doing what they could to benefit species and protect resources like soil and water.
“As an industry farmers are given advice on environmental management. Farmers are also genuinely interested in species that can be found on their businesses so this was a good opportunity for Rob to get a really good snap-shot of what he has.
“This event helped get the right people out and created a baseline about what is there so that subsequent schemes can be tailored to maximise habitat and create additional measures, to help species thrive and encourage new ones.”
Mr Pickles said it was a great day that helped add to Dield Studies Council records. The highlight was seeing the range of habitat and great diversity of species that can be presented on a well looked after farm.
Mr Alderson farmers were often told what they should be doing on their farms – using fairly random information from other organisations – when there was no formal assessment of what was there in the first place.
“The event helped get the right people on farm and create a base-line about what I have. As farmers we’re growing and rearing food and have result driven businesses – there’s no reason why this type of event can’t help support an outcome-based approach in future.”