THE ENVIRONMENTAL impact of the single farm payment has been likened to playing Russian roulette by Barbara Young, Environment Agency chief executive.

Baroness Young made the claim at the Farmcare FWAG Silver Lapwing Awards ceremony in London on Tues (Nov 23).

“The single farm payment will have a huge impact on land management and conservation,” she said.

“But it‘s a bit like Russian roulette.

“We don‘t know how the individual decisions of 170,000 farmers will add up to impact the environment.”

Christine Tacon, general manager of farm management business company Farmcare, warned of the gulf between farmers‘ actual contribution to the environment and the public‘s perception.

“There‘s a big gap between what farmers do and what the public think they do.

“The Silver Lapwing Awards gives us an opportunity, once a year, to make a big splash about how farmers benefit conservation,” she said.

Winner of the Silver Lapwing Trophy and English Silver Lapwing Award was Chris Dowse, Hall Farm, Stainton le Vale, Lincs who collected a cheque for £1500.

The award recognises his success at making conservation an integral part of his commercial farming operations.

The Scottish silver Lapwing Award and a cheque for £500 went to Lord David Henry, Morriston Farm, Ayrshire.

The Welsh Silver Award and a cheque for £500 was collected by Ronald Powell, Hirllwyn Farm, Powys.

Meanwhile, FARMERS WEEKLY Livestock Section Farmer Focus writers Sue and Andy Guy collected the first ever Future of Farming Award.

The award was open to farmers taking their first steps in conservation management.

The Guys, Thorney Abbey Farm, Newark, Notts received the £1000 award for maintaining a high standard of commercial dairy farming and benefiting the environment.