East Devon farmer wins Bronze Otter Award

A farmer from East Devon has been named the winner of the prestigious Devon Bronze Otter Award.

Phil Short, of Chubbs Farm, near Axminster, received the award for the ‘remarkable and innovative conservation work’ he is undertaking on his 220 acres.

Run by the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), the competition was open to any farm with good conservation practices.

The award showcases the long-term commitment to wildlife conservation and sustainable farming.

Its scope includes advice on soil management, countryside stewardship, natural flood management, and renewable energy. The group also helps with assurance schemes, compliance, woodland creation, and farm habitats.

Chubbs Farm, which comprises 75 fields, has been run organically for 20 years. During that time, it has never been ploughed – with manures injected directly into the soil.

The farm lays hedges in rotation and runs its British Friesian organic dairy herd in harmony with wildlife.

The award was presented by Roland Stonex and John Whetman, who has been involved with FWAG SouthWest for over 30 years, and is co-ordinator and head judge of the Devon Bronze Otter annual competition.

The the winner of the bronze award automatically goes on to represent Devon in the regional Barn Owl Award.

Following the latter competition, the winner will go on to compete for the South West in the National Silver Lapwing competition, being staged in 2020.

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