Championing the connections between farming and wildlife

Monday 14th July 2014

Conservation grazing cattle cpt Zsuzsanna Bird

Creating a healthy natural environment, where wildlife is thriving, is vital for the future of our farming industry and food production.

That’s the message from The Wildlife Trusts at this year’s Country Land and Business Association’s Game Fair.

The 56th annual exhibition - which is this year dedicating Saturday 19 July to conservation - takes place at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, from Friday 18 - Sunday 20 July. 

Farming, food and wildflowers will be celebrated at The Wildlife Trusts’ stand (B0170), where visitors will have the chance to win a luxury hamper jam-packed with local produce from The Wildlife Trusts’ farming and conservation schemes.

The Wildlife Trusts’ expert staff will be on hand to answer questions about conservation grazing and grassland management, including the remarkable Coronation Meadows project, launched one year ago by HRH The Prince of Wales at his own meadow at Highgrove House.

The fundamental connections between farming, food and nature will be highlighted through examples of work undertaken on Wildlife Trust farms and nature reserves around the UK, including wildlife-friendly produce such as cider, apple juice and chutney from Herefordshire Nature Trust’s Orchard origins project and wildlife-friendly meat boxes from Worcestershire, using Hereford cattle grazed on conservation grasslands.

At this prestigious event, The Wildlife Trusts will be promoting the vital role land management and farming must play in helping to achieve nature’s recovery and, in particular, the role of conservation grazing in managing precious wildlife-rich places including meadows and grasslands.

René Olivieri, Chair of The Wildlife Trusts, said:

“A healthy natural environment is essential to the future of farming and food production, and therefore essential to everyone in the UK.  The Wildlife Trusts are working with thousands of farmers every year to encourage the use of wildlife-friendly practices.  

"We look forward to welcoming everyone to our stand to demonstrate how we are supporting and undertaking this approach, which offers benefits to the economy and wider society.  The more we understand the true value of nature, the better our decisions on future land management will be.”

Estelle Bailey, Chief Executive of the Berks, Buck & Oxon Wildlife Trust, will speak at The Wildlife Trusts’ reception event on Friday afternoon.  Estelle said:

“Making space for wildlife across our countryside and towns is not only vital to secure nature’s recovery, it also underpins our ability to produce food in the future. Without large-scale healthy functioning ecosystems the pollination of our crops, development of our soils and quality of our water will be under threat. That’s not good for wildlife, people or farming.  We know how to create these healthier places, and are keen to work in partnership with farmers and landowners at a local level to do so across England.”

The Wildlife Trusts currently manage around 20 working farms and collectively own a herd of more than 7,500 grazing animals, including traditional and rare breed cattle and sheep, native ponies and even water buffalo.  The Wildlife Trusts support around 5,000 farmers in taking action for wildlife every year, through advice provision.  For more information on conservation grazing and examples of The Wildlife Trusts’ work to support Farming for A Living Landscape, visit http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/conservationgrazing

The CLA Game Fair is one of the UK’s largest exhibitions with visitor numbers reaching around 148,000 each year.  The show focuses on farming, land and rural activity and is largely attended by land holders, farmers and those interested in countryside activities.

Notes for editors:

‘Discover our Meadows’ quiz
Visitors to The Wildlife Trusts’ stand can enter a quiz to win a luxury picnic hamper full of wildlife- friendly produce.  The answers are displayed in and amongst The Wildlife Trusts’ display stand.  A winner will be picked on random at the end of the show.

Coronation Meadows
Coronation Meadows are outstanding examples of flower-rich grasslands, which reflect the local character of the landscape.  Oxfordshire’s Coronation Meadow is Chimney Meadows in Bampton.

Coronation Meadows are being identified in every county in the UK and seed from these will be used to create new meadows within each county.  Many are surviving fragments which support wildlife are often the result of years of careful management, have an annual hay cut and are grazed by hardy, native breeds.  The second stage of this nationwide project is starting this summer, with more than 20 meadows being restored across the country, supported by generous funding from Biffa Award. www.coronationmeadows.org.uk

The Coronation Meadows Partnership is made up of Plantlife,  The Wildlife Trusts
and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. HRH The Prince of Wales is Patron of all three charities.

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