Farmers, advisors and local conservationists braved extreme weather conditions to learn about the farming practices of the 2019 Cornwall Otter Trophy winner.

The trophy is awarded by FWAG SouthWest annually to showcase the long-term commitment to wildlife conservation and sustainability shown by many farmers across the county.

The winner, David Oates, hosted a farm walk and series of talks on January 14 that inspired and fascinated a group of nearly 50 guests.

The event was based at Tregoon Farm in Gweek, where David took on land from his uncle four years ago.

With the support of a Mid-Tier agreement, he has converted it to organic and introduced a mixed rotation which is improving soil health, capturing carbon in the soil and benefitting local wildlife populations, whilst allowing David to utilise forage efficiently and sell high quality produce.

David and his family manage the family business at Rosuick Farm, where they are looking to diversify into care farming, and have also worked hard to improve the condition of some of the Lizard’s heathland parcels which support populations of many rare plants and animals. He also looks to maximise the benefit of his farming for people in the local community.

The competition judges commended David for his approach to planning, diversifying and growing the family business, and his choice of farming system that suits the suitability of the land under his control, and the importance of the wildlife habitats that are associated with it.

Increasingly, the Oates are addressing use of resources and waste generation, through reducing and recycling plastic, lowering fuel consumption, and installing renewable energy systems to provide more power.

James Lyall, Cornwall Committee chairman and Cornwall Otter judge, said: "The Otter Trophy walk went very well and was very well attended by over forty people despite the strong winds and of course rain. We all came away feeling very inspired and I was left with the image of seeing clouds of linnets flying around David’s field of wild bird seed mix. I hope that he will now go a long way in the National Competition. He certainly deserves too as he ticks so many boxes and is a very good young ambassador for the future of farming.”

Organisers are currently seeking entries for the Cornwall Otter Award for 2020. Are you a farmer who carefully considers methods of conservation and sustainability when farming your land? Do you have a neighbour who fits the criteria?

The winner of the Cornwall Otter Award has the opportunity to host a farm walk, and they also go on to represent their county in the regional Barn Owl Trophy. Take a look at the website for more information or email