Dales hill farmers must be prepared for challenging times ahead – that was the message to rural estate owners at the second meeting of the Dales Rural Estates Network (DREN).
Speaking to owners of the largest estates from across the Dales, Greg Ricketts of farm business consultants Andersons said hill farmers must be prepared for a drop in the amount of public payments they receive following the 2013 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) review.
“We are predicting a significant reduction in public payments to hill farmers post 2013, which will lead to declining profits and increased financial pressure through to 2015,” said Mr Ricketts.
“However, the role that Dales farmers have to play in delivering environmental goods such as energy, cultural landscape, natural resource protection and biodiversity looks set to receive greater prominence under the new CAP and this is the area that farmers will be able to focus on in order to improve their profitability.”
Andersons has completed a major study into the viability of hill farming in Nidderdale AONB and the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The findings were presented to DREN members by Mr Ricketts and his colleague Fiona Tweedie during a meeting in the Dales village of East Witton.
DREN is a two year project co-ordinated by the CLA. It is free to join and open to any rural estate operating within the Yorkshire Dales. A programme of future events is being planned, covering a range of relevant subjects from renewable energy and tourism through to property development and broadband access.
Further information on The Dales Rural Estates Network is available online at www.dren.org.uk or by contacting Daniel Curtois on 01347 823803.