24 November 1995

Scientific approach needed on the farm

FARMING needs a science-based response to popular demands for greater environmental awareness, says environment minister John Gummer.

Speaking at the presentation of the Booker Countryside/Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group Silver Lapwing award for farm conservation, he said his forthcoming bio-diversity initiative would contain "an enormous amount of science".

That approach is needed to counter the short-sighted proposals of many pressure groups which would benefit neither farming nor the countryside in the long run.

"Farming needs to earn a public reputation as guardian of the countryside and that will need everything researchers and scientists can give it.

"If you think the past 20 years have been difficult, the battleground over the next 20 years will be even more so. Our role needs to be earned every year, if not every month, and to earn it we need to know the answers to the questions that will be thrown at us."

&#8226 Winner of the 1995 Booker Countryside/FWAG Silver Lap-wing award for wildlife conservation on a commercial farm is Richard Fuller. Mr Fuller manages 400ha (1000 acres) at Givendale Farm on the Yorkshire Wolds near Pocklington for JSR Farms. &#42

Lapwing winner Richard Fuller.