UPLAND farmers are to get an extra £26 per hectare in Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments from next year, the Government has announced.
Hundreds of farmers in Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales will be among those to benefit from the reform, which will see payments rise to around £56 per hectare from January 1, 2015.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said: “Moorland farmers play a vital role in managing some our most treasured landscapes. This payment increase will help farmers maintain our moorlands and deliver a significant boost for tourism and the rural economy in these areas.”
Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron, who chairs the the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming, said: “This is good news and has shown that our lobbying has paid off. This funding will help support upland farmers who tend our landscape.
"I will keep fighting for our farmers and doing all I can to support them.”
Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart said: "Our farmers operating within the moorland line and working some of the toughest land in the country perform an incredible role not only in producing food, but continuing their age-old function of managing our habitat and maintaining the landscape that is so central to this part of the country.
"By transferring funds from Entry Level Stewardship schemes to Single Farm Payments there will, however, be less money for commoning farmers, so we need to ensure that active commoners continue to be properly rewarded for the work they do, too."
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Country, Land and Business Association (CLA) president Henry Robinson said: “This is a victory for the CLA and its upland members. Analysis has shown that farm business incomes in moorland areas will increase significantly if there is an uplift in payments under the implementation of Common Agricultural Policy reform.
“The uplift will improve the fortunes of farmers in moorland areas and boost farm business incomes across a great number of upland farms.”
Mr Robinson said the impact of taking ‘a few pounds’ per hectare from lowland farmers to provide additional support in the uplands would ‘make a huge difference to the viability of farms and businesses in the most challenging landscapes’.
He added: “Farms in moorland areas have significant environmental, economic and social value and this analysis underlines the need for support to be given to them. We welcome the Environment Secretary’s decision. Now farmers in upland areas will have more certainty about the incomes post-2015.”