The Westmorland GazetteNew group will put the case for the upland farmer (From The Westmorland Gazette)

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New group will put the case for the upland farmer

The Westmorland Gazette: Jonathan Benson Jonathan Benson

YOUNG farmers in Cumbria have formed a new organisation to help promote their interests and counter ‘negative public perceptions’ about upland farming.

Twenty five new generation farmers attended the inaugural meeting of Cumbria Young Commoners (CYC), held at the King’s Head, Thirlmere, last week.

The organisation says its aim is to represent the interests and views of existing young commoners and to help preserve Cumbrian hill farming for future generations.

Among the issues it is keen to tackle are the ‘misconceptions’ about upland farming voiced by environmentalists like George Monbiot.

CYC spokesman and Great Langdale farmer Jonathan Benson said those attending the meeting expressed particular anger at views expressed by the Guardian columnist on the Countryfile programme, during which he said sheep should be removed from large parts of the Cumbrian uplands so the areas could be ‘re-wilded’.

Mr Benson said Mr Monbiot’s comments were ‘like a kick in the teeth to young farmers’ and demonstrated why an organisation like CYC was so important.

He said another key issue the organisation would address was the lack of financial support for young farmers seeking to get farms of their own.

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“The Single Farm Payment helps established farmers, but there’s nothing for young farmers such as myself who would love to have a farm of their own but can’t afford the rents,” said Mr Benson, who farms 30 cattle and 150 sheep in Great Langdale but also has to work at other farms to ‘make ends meet’.

Although no officials were elected at the CYC’s inaugural meeting, Mr Benson said the organisation was now officially up and running with its own Facebook site.

In addition to the 25 young farmers who attended the meeting, he said many others who could not make it had still expressed an interest in joining the organisation.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron, who is chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming, applauded the formation of the CYC.

“I support the organisation’s aims,” he said.

Comments (1)

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9:50am Tue 4 Feb 14

HarryingtheNorth says...

Dialogue would be a start. Any dialogue. No ones 'kicking teeth'.

Rather than this bellicose drama with pitchfork & crook rattling, any young farmer should be engaging on an intelligent viewpoint and opinion. OPINION. They have therefore failed to listen and engage with the modern world which is sitting up to flood issues, loss of biodiversity, etc, etc. A viewpoint, which apparently, if anyone who has a different one is promptly ignored or enrages. Much like the attitude of those public servants (remember that)- our politicians.

Rory Stewart's 'anti-intellectual' comment on BBC Countryfile didn't help (this from a man who stood up and pretended to be an intellectual during his TED talk on 'democracy')- making himself a self-confirmed farming spokesperson seemingly disinterested in engaging.

This isn't a forced eviction. Leave that to your self-interested money makers- the ever-changing financial status of the world, the lending banks, the subsidized European & worldwide markets, & the ever present Owen Paterson...

No ones saying stop farming. The NFU is stirring it up as its not in their best interests otherwise for their own lobbying purposes. They don't have small farmers, tenants or small holders in their sights anyhow, their the ones not subscribing to them usually. Best interests of the big agri-conglomerates instead.

I can't understand this continued belligerent opinion, without actually reading or fully understanding Monbiots (and a good few other UK residents viewpoint). Instead, get angry about rents, etc., direct to the competition- the big agri-businesses, the old families & their tax avoiding companies/estates, overseas investors, sovereign states & their management companies that own the tenanted land, etc., etc.

Enough said. Engagement and dialogue. They should get up to Newton Rigg on the 7th March and put their points across in the presence of all parties and interest groups, including the public.
Dialogue would be a start. Any dialogue. No ones 'kicking teeth'. Rather than this bellicose drama with pitchfork & crook rattling, any young farmer should be engaging on an intelligent viewpoint and opinion. OPINION. They have therefore failed to listen and engage with the modern world which is sitting up to flood issues, loss of biodiversity, etc, etc. A viewpoint, which apparently, if anyone who has a different one is promptly ignored or enrages. Much like the attitude of those public servants (remember that)- our politicians. Rory Stewart's 'anti-intellectual' comment on BBC Countryfile didn't help (this from a man who stood up and pretended to be an intellectual during his TED talk on 'democracy')- making himself a self-confirmed farming spokesperson seemingly disinterested in engaging. This isn't a forced eviction. Leave that to your self-interested money makers- the ever-changing financial status of the world, the lending banks, the subsidized European & worldwide markets, & the ever present Owen Paterson... No ones saying stop farming. The NFU is stirring it up as its not in their best interests otherwise for their own lobbying purposes. They don't have small farmers, tenants or small holders in their sights anyhow, their the ones not subscribing to them usually. Best interests of the big agri-conglomerates instead. I can't understand this continued belligerent opinion, without actually reading or fully understanding Monbiots (and a good few other UK residents viewpoint). Instead, get angry about rents, etc., direct to the competition- the big agri-businesses, the old families & their tax avoiding companies/estates, overseas investors, sovereign states & their management companies that own the tenanted land, etc., etc. Enough said. Engagement and dialogue. They should get up to Newton Rigg on the 7th March and put their points across in the presence of all parties and interest groups, including the public. HarryingtheNorth
  • Score: -5

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