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Farmers welcome back birds

Farmers will welcome the findings of a Government report that suggests that their efforts have resulted in a stabilising of the numbers of British farmland and wild birds, says the NFU.

The arrest of the decline in bird species announced in a report by Defra yesterday is a testament to the efforts of the thousands of farmers who are implementing environmental schemes and farming practices.

Sir Ben Gill, NFU President, whose farm in York was recently surveyed by the RSPB and found to contain 57 species of farmland and wild birds, said: "Farmers will be very happy to hear this news and encouraged for the future.

"Today's farmers recognise that their role as custodians of the countryside is as important as their role as food producers.

"Balancing these twin demands is a an ongoing concern and we will continue to help farmers to achieve this."

Bird species on farms are benefiting from 800,000 hectares of farmland that has been entered into environmental and conservation initiatives such as Countryside Stewardship.

Additionally, the adoption of more environmental friendly farming practices such as sensitive hedge maintenance, a reduction in pesticide use and pro-active crop and field management have improved the condition of the birds' natural habitats.

In a survey last year, the NFU found that the average farmer spends 11 hours and £183 a month protecting habitats.


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