Alyn Smith MEP encourages Scottish farmers to sign up to RSPB Scotland’s the Nature of Farming Award.
The award celebrates the farmers who do most to help threatened countryside species such as corn bunting, brown hares, bees, butterflies and plants; raises awareness of the good work farmers do; and encourages landowners to get involved in environmental schemes.
“Farmers in Scotland provide safe havens for some of the country’s most threatened flora and fauna, they protect and encourage wildlife that is in decline and they should be recognised for their efforts. The survival of much of our wildlife and rare plants is in their hands.
"Maintaining biological diversity whilst satisfying growing food demand is a major challenge, and Scottish farmers are at the forefront of efforts to find that balancing point.
”The EU LIFE+ Programme funds the work of the RSPB to support wildlife-friendly farming and sustainable development; it's one of the areas where the European Union is doing excellent work.
"Farmers across Scotland should be proud of what they do and they should be entering this competition to make sure that their efforts are recognised."
Applications from farmers who have excelled in their support to help threatened countryside wildlife will be accepted until the 18 April. After the closing date, judges will select eight regional winners, and then a panel of experts will decide which four should go through to the UK finals. At this stage, control will shift to the UK public, as they decide the overall winner.
The competition is run by the RSPB, supported by Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife, and sponsored by the Telegraph.