Tough farm standard backs birds

16 July 2001

‘Tough’ farm standard backs birds

By FWi staff

A NEW farm standard for lamb and beef from bird-friendly farms it to be launched by the RSPB, reports The Times.

Participating farmers could see an increase in returns from a current 9p in the pound spent by shoppers to 14p per pound, claims the bird protection charity.

Produce will be sold to the 1 million RSPB members and in local shops.

The charity aims to include wheat and dairy farmers, with the logo being used on milk, bread and biscuits.

In the past the RSPB has accused other schemes, such as the British Farm Standard scheme, of not being tough enough on environmental standards.

The RSPB said it was unhappy that many assurance schemes do not require farmers to protect landscape and encourage plants and wildlife.

To qualify for the RSPB logo farmers must follow a detailed conservation plan, including targets to encourage the return of declining farmland species.

This would include leaving unploughed patches in the centre of fields, wide uncultivated margins and the creation of new hedgerows.

Minimal pesticides should be used and farmers would be expected to grow spring-sown crops to allow birds to get food from stubble over winter.

The logo will first be used on the meat from livestock grazed on the charitys 150 nature reserves.

Environment, food and rural affairs secretary Margaret Beckett will make a major speech at an RSPB conference in London on Tuesday (17 July).


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