Voting now open for Nature Farming Award

Tuesday 13th August 2013

Nicholas Watts in a field of sunflowersNicholas Watts of Vine House Farm

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 Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country as a finalist in 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.

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.

Neil Wyatt, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, 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 Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country recognises farmers and landowners should be the backbone of conservation and restoration efforts. The Wildlife Trusts launched a partnership with conservation award-winning Vine House Farm in August 2007 and they have been very supportive of International Dawn Chorus Day.

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