A new survey from the Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE) has found a whopping 99 per cent of farmers believe protecting wildlife is important.
Over 370 farmers, who between them manage nearly 10,000 hectares of land, responded to the survey – and 87 per cent of them said they managed their land voluntarily to benefit the environment.
The research also showed protecting soil and water and using inputs efficiently were key considerations for 90 per cent of farmers.
Anna Cuckow, project officer at the CFE, said: “This survey confirms many farmers are taking action to benefit the environment and protect wildlife, while farming productively and profitably. It shows the cumulative effect of individual actions makes a significant difference.
“Recent media coverage highlights that the general public value the rural environment, and this survey demonstrates that many farmers are taking responsibility for managing and conserving the countryside.”
Together, the farmers who responded to the survey have put up 17,343 metres of fencing to keep stock out of watercourses, preventing bank erosion and improving water quality.
They are also using a number of other measures to improve soil quality, prevent pollution and benefit wildlife.
The most popular were grass buffer strips next to watercourses and ponds, fertiliser-free permanent pasture and leaving field corners as wildlife habitat.
By area, winter cover crops and over-wintered stubbles were the most common.
Ms Cuckow added: “Combinations of voluntary environmental measures deliver many wins for farm businesses. These include reduced erosion, improved soil quality, lower fertiliser costs and better yields across the farm. In addition, water quality and wildlife habitats are improved.
“In 2017-18, CFE will continue to provide guidance on best-practice to farmers and landowners.”
For more information about CFE, visit the website.