Arable grower William Scale worries he sounds like a grant junkie when he talks about the cash he gets to preserve and encourage wildlife on his Pembrokeshire farm.

But evidence suggests the taxpayer would prefer farmers to be paid to work in harmony with nature rather than getting support for maximum output.

It remains an uphill struggle however for the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) to convince farmers of the need to change their ways.

William Scale, vice-chairman of the charity's south Wales region, suggests farmers too often shied away from change and regarded schemes such as Tir Gofal as a backward way of farming.

But when the impact of CAP reform kicks in next year, it could be a way forward for many, he said.

Joining FWAG, an organisation promoting environmentally sensitive means of land management, would be a positive step in that direction, he maintains.

"FWAG is here to help farmers improve and create new habitat and to interpret future demands made on farmers pertaining to environmental issues," he said.

"It can help farmers source environmental subsidies and provide them with financial figures to help with decision making whatever their method of farming, whether it be organic, conventional, intensive or extensive. The wildlife potential is the same for any system.''

William grows cereals and potatoes on his 320-acre farm at Great Nash near Llangwm. Tack sheep and cattle graze the land in the winter.

As a member of Tir Gofal, he is paid to grow crops which provide wildlife habitat. A field of unsprayed spring wheat with a fallow boundary will return a better gross margin than William would get from a crop produced for maximum yield because he is paid £450 a hectare for the uncultivated field margin.

Rare arable flowers such as shepherd's needle, the cornflower and marigolds thrive in the fallow land, encouraging insects as food for birds. His field of kale, which he leaves standing for two years in return for £350 a hectare, provides food for small birds such as the linnet and the finch. It is also excellent cover for pheasants.

Great Nash Farm was the venue for a FWAG farm walk on Thursday when wildlife experts and farmers gathered to see for themselves the effect of the the Tir Gofal scheme. Trevor Dines, of Plant Life, was on the look out for rare plants while Angela Hare of the RSPB was interested in the bird population.

Visitors included Dr Glenda Thomas, FWAG director for Wales, Peter John of the Countryside Council for Wales, and local wildlife expert, Jack Donovan.

Farmers who are interested in joining FWAG can contact the farm conservation officer for south Wales, Huw Thomas, on 01656 722270.