LINCOLN, England, August 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Voting is now underway for the annual RSPB Telegraph Nature of Farming Award, and Vine House Farm's very own Nicholas Watts is one of the finalists having won the round for the Eastern Region.
The prestigious RSPB Telegraph Nature of Farming Award recognises the vital work certain farmers do in making a real effort for wildlife on their own farms. Each year the RSPB invites entries from farmers across the UK, with expert judges then determining eight regional winners. Nicholas Watts won the competitive Eastern Region round but now it's up to the public to vote for the national champion.
So why should the public vote for Nicholas? Well arguably, there is nobody more deserving than him for the award because:
- He has worked tirelessly for wildlife conservation over the last three decades and more.
- The level and scale of work on his farm to improve breeding numbers of birds is simply staggering.
- He has consistently put the needs of wildlife and the wider environment above the desire to maximise profit on his farm - e.g. by giving over more than 10% of the total farm's acreage to wild flower meadows, new hedgerows and ponds etc. which would have otherwise been used for crops.
- At a time in life when many men of his age would have long ago retired, he continues at full steam and, for example, still gets up at first light on spring mornings to survey bird numbers - and covers more than 70 miles each year doing so!
- His influence is enormous, and can be credited for positively steering government policy on wildlife farming, and inspiring other farmers to give homes to wildlife on their farms across the UK.
Overall, no other farmer in the UK has done more for wildlife than Nicholas Watts has over the last 30 years or so.
In addition, Nicholas has provided very significant financial support to The Wildlife Trusts in the last decade or so, and currently has a long-term agreement in place with them where a percentage of the profits from his successful bird food business go directly to the charity.
Votes for the award can be made until Saturday 31 August 2013 and registered online (type in 'RSPB nature of farming award' on Google), by phone on 01767 693680, post, or at various country shows.
Vine House Farm operates on over 2000 acres in the Lincolnshire Fens. The business is family owned and run, with Nicholas' daughter, Lucy, and son-in-law, Robert, supporting him in the day-to-day running of what is now a complex farm operation and wider commercial business.
The farm has a number of different revenue streams, with the main ones being potatoes which are sold to supermarkets and for processing, as well as sugar beet and combinable seed crops. Some of the crops on the farm are grown organically.
Many of the seed crops are for a highly successful bird food business which has seen Vine House Farm diversify into this growing market, and one where it deals directly with its customers as it trades online and via mail order and phone orders.
SOURCE Vine House Farm