NFU President Minette Batters was joined on day one of the NFU-sponsored Big Farmland Bird Count by Pete Thompson, biodiversity adviser at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and journalists from the BBC, the Guardian, Country Life magazine and Western Daily Press.
Now in its sixth year, the citizen science project asks farmers and landowners to spend 30 minutes recording the species they see on their land to help identify the farmland birds that are flourishing due to good conservation methods and ones in need of most support.
More than 1,000 farmers took part in last year’s count, recording 121 species across 950,000 acres, including 25 red-listed species. The results enable GWCT to showcase the benefits of their efforts to support bird life through providing habitat and supplementary feeding.
The launch event on Mrs Batters' farm was attended by a number of journalists resulting in both regional and national media coverage as well as articles in the agricultural trade press. Jim Egan, head of training and development at GWCT gave live interviews from the NFU’s studio for local BBC radio stations, explaining the count's focus on recording farmers’ efforts to reverse bird declines through conservation work.
Media coverage and reach
The Guardian - online reach 9.74m - you can read the article here, which includes Mrs Batters' comments on the government's no-deal contingency planning for the food industry
Yorkshire Post - circulation 34,175
Western Daily Press - circulation 14,472
Journalists at NFU President Minette Batters' farm for the launch of the 2019 Big Farmland Bird Count
Mrs Batters said:
“The Big Farmland Bird Count is becoming an important national event where thousands of farmers and growers around the country are able to take stock of and, importantly, take pride in what they find on their land.
“The NFU supports initiatives like the Big Farmland Bird Count because without sound management of the environment, enhancement of habitats, protection of wildlife and support for pollinators and soils, we do not have farming businesses.
“I would encourage all farmers to take part, and also remember to submit your records to the GWCT, so we can pull together a vital national snapshot of the state of nation when it comes to farmland birds.”
Video: See more examples of the work done by farmers to increase biodiversity and support insect and animal life on farmland: