Eco farmer ploughs down the opposition
Great news for Welsh farmer Alan Morgan as he's just been named Wales' winner of the Nature of Farming Award - a competition run by the RSPB and BBC Countryfile magazine. The 58-hectare farm in Monmouth is a haven for the rare silver-washed fritillary and clouded yellow butterflies.
He also has flocks of seed eating birds such as linnet and yellowhammer
as well as rare wild plants like the meadow saffron, great butterfly orchid and
The farm has a variety of habitats managed to benefit wildlife including restored hay meadows; a woodland that is classed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) with ancient hazel coppice, and 15 ponds which support frogs, toads and all three species of newt including the rare great
Alan said: "I am delighted to have won the Wales leg of the Nature of Farming Award, and am very proud of the work that we have done for wildlife on Gadr Farm over the years."
The family have farmed the land at Gadr Farm for nearly 40 years, and in November 2000 entered the Welsh Assembly Government's agri-environment scheme Tir Gofal, which pays farmers to improve the environmental and ecological value of their land.
Alan has become more and more interested in managing the farm to benefit wildlife, particularly the SSSI woodland area, and carries out all of the traditional hazel coppicing by himself.
Backed by Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife, the Nature of Farming Award celebrates farmers managing their land in ways that help birds and wildlife. Maintaining hedgerows and leaving corners of fields unmanaged are just two ways farmers can help develop long-term habitats for wildlife.
Simple changes to farming practices can be adopted to protect farmland birds and wildlife.
Dead or dying trees support all sorts of insect communities and are often used by hole-nesting birds and a variety of butterflies can be supported by developing grass field margins and verges.
Spring crops or fallow plots away from woodland and tall hedges present the perfect spot for nesting lapwings. Alan will be presented with a plaque and certificate at this years' Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in Builth Wells.
Each regional winner will be put forward to an expert judging panel and will face a
public vote to decide the winner this summer. The public vote will be open from 13 May until 28 August 2009.
More information on the Nature of Farming Award can be found by visiting https://www.rspb.co.uk/farmvote.