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One of my great passions is wildlife, particularly farmland birds, bees and butterflies. The loss of habitat for these creatures during the last sixty years has been catastrophic and the numbers of each make depressing reading. I am determined to put this right on my farms, at least, and because I am a farmer I am in the privileged position of being able to so something about it.

All the land farmed by me is in either HLS or CSS, and the options that I have chosen are the ones that birds, bees and butterflies really need and have been sadly lacking. We now have for example, 36 hectares of wild bird cover which produce food and cover for the birds in the winter; 39 hectares of wild flowers and unharvested cereal headlands to provide insects just at the right time for farmland bird chicks and suitable habitat for bees. In fact, the place is quite literally humming with bees during the summer months.

In addition to providing habitat, I am pursuing a policy of reducing and if possible, completely stopping using insecticides on our arable crops. This is proving to be quite a challenge because we farmers have grown accustomed to routinely using insecticides without giving the matter a great deal of thought- unfortunately they are relatively inexpensive so routine use is not very painful and indeed, stopping using them doesn’t save an enormous amount of money. Nevertheless, their indiscriminate mode of action can be devastating and the countryside would be a better place if we used less of them or better still stopped using them altogether.

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