Seven farm conservation award finalists named

Vegetable and salad growers Philip Hubbert of JE Piccaver and James Brown of Polybell Organics are among the seven finalists of this year's Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) Silver Lapwing Award.

The seven finalists were announced by FWAG chairman Henry Lucas at a reception held at the CLA Game Fair at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire on 24 July. The FWAG is a national charity that helps those who manage the countryside to protect native wildlife for future generations. The Silver Lapwing Award is aimed at growers who demonstrate outstanding commitment to conservation and environmental management.

FWAG managing director Andy Ormiston said: "The standard of entries continues to improve year on year. All of the finalists are running a commercial operation for the production of food but have shown it is possible to do this alongside caring for the environment."

Hubbert's Norfolk House Farm in Gedney Marsh, Holbeach, is one of a handful of new "beacon farms" for the Campaign for the Farmed Environment, rolled out for horticulture and potato growers last month.

Meanwhile, Brown's Pollybell Organics in Epworth, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, has this summer launched its Honey Bee Project, which has seen the introduction of seven hives to the farm. The project has also seen the farm try out new "bee friendly" crops, including a small fruit orchard that produces early blossom.

The other finalists are Huw Rowlands of The Grange, Mickle Trafford, Cheshire, Michael Aster of Hatley Park, Sandy, Bedfordshire; George Danby of Brickyard Farm, Wrangle, Boston, Lincolnshire, Doncaster, South Yorkshire; Rod Smith of Beal Farm, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland and Keith Williams of Hendy Hundred House, Llandrindod Wells, Powys.

The judging tour of the finalists' farms will take place in mid September. The FWAG Silver Lapwing Award will be presented at a ceremony in London in the autumn.

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