Hill farmers left out again

Last week Farming Minister, Mark Spencer announced a rise in Environmental Land Management payments, saying it would attract more farmers to sign up. It seems an odd way to attract hill farmers as there is almost nothing in his announcement for them.

Support to hill farmers barely noticeable

For example, there is no additional funding for the older Higher Level Stewardship schemes which many commons are signed up to. While, the paltry up to £1000 per year to take part in the Sustainable Farming Incentive excludes the Moorland Standard. We did notice that Defra has increased the revenue rates for moorland options in Countryside Stewardship, but we were less than encouraged when we worked out that hill farmers get less than the average 10% uplift.

Fantasy land

Reading Defra’s Future farming blog announcing these changes is like entering some strange Alice in Wonderland world where everything is not as it seems, and Defra is living a fantasy.

More options soon?

Oh, and there will be additional SFI options suitable for hill farmers announced soon. We were originally promised a detailed prospectus before Christmas, then in the New Year, and now it looks it will likely be the end of January …….

Don’t hold your breath