Seeking wildlife-frindly farmers

The RSPB has launched its annual search to find the farmer that does the most for nature.

The Nature of Farming Award aims to find the farmer who has put in the most work on their land to help threatened countryside species.

The competition is run by the RSPB, supported by Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife, and sponsored by The Telegraph.

Last year's winners, Carolyne and Somerset Charrington of Treshnish Farm, said: "We were extremely proud to have been chosen as the winners of the RSPB Telegraph Nature of Farming Award last year.

"It was a huge boost to our confidence and proved that what we've been doing in terms of farming, conservation and sustainability is working.

"We have a popular coastal path that brings locals and visitors onto the farm daily, and it's great to share their enjoyment of the wildlife they encounter."

The competition closes on 20 April, when entries will be shortlisted to eight regional winners. A panel of experts will decide which four should go through to the national finals.

There will also be a highly commended category, to recognise the efforts of farmers who have excelled in their support of farmland wildlife.

The UK public will decide the overall winner by casting their votes online, over the phone, via The Telegraph, or at country shows throughout the summer.

Last year the competition attracted an unprecedented number of votes, with over 22,000 people backing their favourite finalist.

Dr Martin Warren, Chief Executive at Butterfly Conservation, will sit on this year's judging panel, said: "Farmers are crucial to maintaining many top butterfly and moths sites, so this award aims to recognise their invaluable role.

"Last years winners at Treshnish in Scotland had done superb work to conserve the Marsh Fritillary and the Slender Scotch Burnet moth, so I am looking forward to seeing some more heart warming stories this year."