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The birds, the bees, the turtle doves, the butterflies, the farmer and an MEP keen to support them all

Chishill FarmMost people only think about turtle doves when singing the 12 Days of Christmas but that certainly isn’t the case for local MEP Alex Mayer, who as Easter approaches donned her wellies to visit a research farm where Turtle Doves have been seen at Orchard Farm, Heydon Road, Chishill, Royston, SG8 8SS.

Ms Mayer will meet with Dr Julian Little from BAYER Crop Science who will explain how productive farming and promotion of wildlife can go hand-in-hand. Bayer research farm at Chishill is one of the company’s key locations to test new products that help farmers in East Anglia and the rest of the UK grow high quality affordable food, but alongside it, a number of measures have been put in place to improve levels of biodiversity.

And that includes turtle doves which have suffered a 91% population decline in Britain since 1995 and a 78% decline across Europe since 1980. As a threatened species, turtle doves are protected by the EU's Birds Directive and Ms Mayer will pledge to keep up the pressure at a European level.

Chishill's ancient plum orchards offer a refuge for turtle doves and Bayer has previously worked with the RSPB’s Operation Turtle Dove to encourage farmers across East Anglia to promote.

Ms. Mayer said: “It is great to see businesses like BAYER have recognised the importance of balancing productive farming with the promotion of habitats for bees and birds, including rare species such as the turtle doves. With the advent of the Brexit, such initiatives will only be more important in the future.

Julian Little from BAYER Crop Science said: “We were delighted that Ms Mayer visited our farm to support what we are doing here to improve biodiversity, whether it is more bees, butterflies, moths, small mammals or owls. We genuinely believe that this can be replicated elsewhere in East Anglia, and if that means more turtle doves in our landscape, that would be fantastic.”

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