A FAIRFORD farmer has been awarded for his dedication to wildlife and passion for a rare wild bird.
John Phillips has been awarded the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust's (GWCT) prestigious 2013 Cotswold Grey Partridge trophy for devoting more than 17 per cent of his fields to wildlife measures that help wild grey partridges and corn bunting.
He runs a 900 acre organic farm owned by the Ernest Cook Trust and was thrilled to win the prize.
"This is a huge accolade and it is also a tribute to Stephen Jones, our gamekeeper who works tirelessly to create the right year-round habitats and environments that help to support our small but increasing grey partridge population," he said.
The award is presented each year to the farm or estate that has gone that extra mile to help conserve the wild grey partridge, a rapidly declining farmland bird.
Currently more than 17 per cent of John's whole farm is devoted to conservation with pollen and nectar mixes, wild bird seed crops, grass margins and lapwing plots producing a riot of colour during the summer months as well as providing vital food sources for insects and other wildlife.
The GWCT’s farmland biodiversity advisor Peter Thompson praised John for his long-term commitment to grey partridge conservation and said the farmer was a fantastic example to everyone.
"It is rare to see as much as 17 per cent of land devoted to conservation measures that support species such as wild grey partridges and corn bunting," said Peter.
"The passion for this vulnerable little grey bird really shines through."
The Cotswold grey partridge trophy is sponsored by the Calmsden Estate, owned by Mark Tufnell, chairman of the Cotswold Grey Partridge Group.