Keep Cumbria's commoners commoning

READ OUR PAPER on what sorts of agricultural policies are needed to keep Cumbria's commoners commoning. We ask HM Government to commit to agricultural policies that support commoners continue grazing the fells.  We have 6 "asks":

  • Ring-fence and maintain current levels of funding for the foreseeable future
  • Shift funding away from area based payments
  • Reform the way public funding is delivered
  • Retain livestock production in the hills
  • Develop locally-led agri-environment schemes for common land
  • Develop locally-led grassland agri-environment schemes for in-bye land

The Federation was set up because the government didn’t understand commoning and thought it could be bolted on to support payments and schemes designed for owner occupied land. We’ve had to pay the price of delayed and incorrect payments and agri-environment prescriptions that are undermining commoning, rather than optimising the value of what we give to society. It’s often been uncomfortable arguing our case from a position of relative weakness as we know that, on average, CAP support provides around half of the income on hill and upland farms. But on the plus side we are getting our messages across. In a recent speech Michael Gove stated that it’s mostly the work of farmers that keeps the landscape beautiful and delights the millions of visitors to Cumbria.

But we can’t rest on our laurels. The outlook for farming is unsettled, uncertain and full of risk. We can't leave it leave it  up to other farmer organisations to say things on our behalf. And while a lot of good sense in being talked there's not much on commoning. So we have have written a short paper setting out our ideas about what is needed to sustain commoning into the future.

You can download the document here