Oxfam report says hill farmers go hungry to feed livestock

A report by Rose Regeneration and UTASS has revealed how hard pressed farming families are going without food so they can afford to feed their livestock. Cash flow problems have forced many hill farmers in the English uplands to take drastic action – from cutting back on the weekly grocery bill to slashing input costs.  The ‘challenges facing farmers’ study was funded by Oxfam and took an in-depth look at the lives of 20 farmers over a nine month period. The research found many farmers were living below the poverty line, with some earning as little as £8,000 a year. According to Tim Farron, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming, “this report is shocking but sadly puts in print what many of us know already, that many hill famers are working 80 hour weeks and living under the poverty line. These farmers tend our uplands and make sure our spectacular, world class landscape is maintained and accessible. It is vital that those farmers are fairly rewarded for their work". The report was launched at a Farming Communities Policy Roundtable on 12 October, hosted by the County Councils Network. Chaired by Stuart Burgess (Commission for Rural Communities) and attended by 20 key decision makers, the event looked at the practical actions and recommendations that could be taken forward.            

To read the report click here