Farmers in Nidderdale, supported by the Prince’s Countryside Fund, are being encouraged to receive free business advice in light of a major report, Recharging Rural.
Farming for the Future offers support to farmers around the economic challenges the sector faces.
The Prince’s Countryside Fund’s Recharging Rural report found that more than 3,000 people they surveyed had a desire for improved infrastructure in the countryside to encourage young people and businesses to stay in rural communities. The public survey found although rural communities are coming together to improve their quality of life, feelings of remoteness have increased over the past 10 years.
Brexit presents major changes to farming, when subsidies under the EU will end in 2024.
The Princes Countryside Fund is supporting the charity, Friends of Nidderdale AONB, to provide free business and environmental advice for farmers in the area to help them tackle the challenges. The government has also proposed changes to the farming system, with a greater emphasis on environmental protection and stewardship.
Chris Clark, an Upper Wharfedale farmer and business management adviser, said:
Food production will still be part of hill farming, but it looks likely that it will provide less significant revenue. Research points to the very real scenario that their purpose will change from food production to include different public and environmental benefits.
There are 800 farmers in Nidderdale. The average income of farmers without subsidies is £22,000; in Nidderdale this can be as low as £7,000-£8,000.
Farming for the Future offers farmers robust business planning in partnership with the Rural Business Research Unit at Askham Bryan College.
Chris added: “There are big changes ahead, but there are opportunities to become more business resilient. We’re using best practice industry protocols to advise them to be Brexit ready.”
To access Farming for the Future advice, call 01423 712950 or email firstname.lastname@example.org