Nature Farming Award - voting now open

Thursday 25th July 2013

Your chance to win a luxury break for two!

A third generation farmer who started sowing seeds of change for the benefit of wildlife more than 30 years ago is being backed by The Wildlife Trusts in the final of the Nature of Farming Award.

Nicholas Watts is one of eight farmers being celebrated for their wildlife-friendly work. All eight - from up and down the UK - are in with a chance to win £1,000 in recognition of their approach to farming being deemed the UK’s most wildlife-friendly.

Everyone who votes will be  entered into a free prize draw for a luxury break for two.   Vote here.

The winning farmer is determined by public vote. Votes can be made until Saturday 31 August 2013 and registered online, by phone, post, or at various country shows. Everyone who votes will be entered into a free prize draw for a luxury break for two people with Millennium Hotels.

Nicholas Watts MBE grows arable crops, bird seed and organic vegetables on his 850 hectares at Vine House Farm in Lincolnshire. He runs guided tours of Vine House Farm and has a small nature reserve [at Baston Fen] where visitors can see a variety of birds and wildlife. In the last 20 years, barn owl numbers have quadrupled, whitethroats, tree sparrows and lapwings have increased ten-fold. Vine House Farm sells wild bird food, bird feeders and accessories which are supplied direct. Every sale supports the vital work of The Wildlife Trusts.

Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape, said:  “We are thrilled Nicholas has been recognised for his commitment to conservation and urge everyone to vote for him!

“In addition to working tirelessly to create an outstanding family business, he demonstrates that nature and profitable farming can go hand in hand.

“Through the creation of a nature reserve, which is open to everyone, he sets a fabulous example and encourages us all to take action for wildlife – in particular for wild birds. Nicholas enjoys strong links with the local community and so his role is invaluable in promoting the importance of nature conservation more widely.”

The Wildlife Trusts recognise farmers and landowners should be the backbone of conservation and restoration efforts and launched a partnership with conservation award-winning Vine House Farm in August 2007.

Nature of Farming Awards
The annual RSPB Telegraph Nature of Farming Award celebrates the work farmers are doing for wildlife – with £1,000 awarded to the very best. The Award - open to all farmers, whatever their farming system – is about doing positive work for wildlife. Entries are invited from across the UK. Farming Advisors identify a regional winner, each of which is ranked by four expert judges. The finalists are voted for by the public. Details of the eight finalists can be seen here. Everyone who votes will be automatically entered into a free prize draw for a luxury break for two people with Millennium Hotels. The winner will be announced in September. Vote here.  For a postal voting form, call 01767 693680.

Award judge Fergus Collins, editor of Countryfile magazine, comments on Nicholas Watts’ farm: “Nicholas’ farm is making a difference in an area renowned for intensive agriculture, through targeting improved habitats for rapidly declining species such as turtle doves. Nicholas has an impressive awareness of both carbon and water-use in his business and has convinced the local drainage board to enhance habitats across the wider landscape."

Vine House Farm
Nicholas Watts was awarded an MBE for services to farming and conservation. Vine House Farm is one of the largest growers of sunflowers in Britain which are grown specifically for bird food. It also grows a further 240 acres of red millet, white millet, naked oats, oil seed rape and canary seed all of which are shipped, mail order, direct to customers across the nation from the family run 2,100 acre farm.

The Wildlife Trusts’ partnership with Vine House Farm offers the chance to buy many wild bird foods grown on its conservation award-winning farm. As Vine House Farm is committed to reducing its impact on the environment, as much produce as is possible is sourced from within the UK. When buying products from Vine House Farm you are directly supporting the work of The Wildlife Trusts.  To find out more about Vine House Farm, its conservation work, and how to order, visit www.vinehousefarm.co.uk

The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) wildlifetrusts.org
A healthy natural environment, where farmland is producing food and bursting with wildlife, underpins sustainable farming systems. Likewise farming and land management are critical to creating A Living Landscape. Farmland covers around 75% of the UK so working with farmers is essential if nature is going to recover. Find out more at http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/living-landscape/farming.

Tagged with: Living Landscapes, Farming, Vine House Farm, Wild bird seed, Wildlife gardening