Our New Year kicked off with a trip to the Oxford REAL Farming Conference. Here we talked to farmers about how they can help conserve endangered species such as hedgehogs, and precious habitats such as orchards and hedgerows on their land.
The conference has been running for 10 years and brings together thousands of farmers and wildlife charities to talk about how we can farm ‘green’ and make our land more wildlife-friendly.
Around 70% of the UK is farmland, and represents critical habitat for many species. So it’s vital that wildlife charities and farmers work together to promote a new way of farming – agroecology – where farming practices are profitable, eco-friendly and sustainable for generations to come.
Intensive agriculture has often be attributed to the decline of key species like the treasured hedgehog due to things like:
• Pesticides eliminating key food for animals
• Soil compaction and over tilling eliminating earthworms, which make up a huge part of the hedgehog diet
• Removal or neglect of key habitats like hedgerows, removing prime nesting spots for ‘hogs
• Large field sizes of just one type of crop makes the land limited for food and nesting opportunities
The Oxford REAL Farming Conference, is all about ‘green’ farming for the future. Our free advice guide, produced in conjunction with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, is all about how farmers can make straightforward changes on the farm to help support a local hedgehog population and it was great to speak face to face some really keep and open-minded farmers about how they can help protect our spiky friends.