Upland Farms

sheepOur small, rural farms are vanishing. Two-thirds of our farming families have gone in the last few decades. As they disappear, the basic structure of rural life is broken: farm-houses become expensive homes in empty valleys, our small village schools are forced to close, and services are increasingly centralised in our nearby towns. Without support, the character, culture, and history of our rural areas will be lost forever. This is why I am determined to support our farming communities, who are under such extraordinary pressure from a dozen directions; be it new environmental regulations, high fuel costs, or the vast, powerful forces of the supermarkets. Living, rural communities need to be seen as part of everyone’s British identity – farms are not only businesses, but bearers of culture; the legacy of more than a thousand years of cultivation.

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RORY AND MEP CANDIDATE URGE CUMBRIAN FARMERS TO JOIN CONSULTATION ON EU PAYMENTS

Rory and European Parliament candidate Kevin Beaty are calling on all farmers across Cumbria to have their say on plans for the reform of farm payments from Europe. Currently, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is looking at proposals to take 15 per cent of payments to redistribute to targeted environmental schemes, in plans […]

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RORY AND GEORGE MONBIOT TO DEBATE UPLANDS FARMING IN LAKE DISTRICT

Following their recent exchange of views on the future of the uplands, Rory and the environmentalist George Monbiot are to hold a debate in the Lake District in Spring 2014. George Monbiot has called for the uplands to be re-wilded and for sheep farming to be replaced by a wilderness. Rory has dubbed this “willful […]

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RORY CHALLENGES ENVIRONMENTALISTS TO PROTECT SMALL UPLAND FARMS

Rory –  who represents the constituency with the highest percentage of upland farmland in England –  has in the latest of a series of articles in support of Cumbria’s small upland farms, called on environmentalists to recognise the complexity of the challenges small hill farmers face in balancing environmental stewardship, and the practices of maintaining  grazing […]

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RORY SAVAGES GEORGE MONBIOT’S ATTACK ON HILL FARMS

Rory has spoken out to defend the Lake District against claims by environmentalist George Monbiot that the Lake District national park is now “one of the most depressing landscapes in Europe” and that its fells have been “sheepwrecked”. In reply, Rory has called Cumrbia’s upland farms ‘one of the great treasures of Britain –  unique […]

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RORY TO COMMISSION STUDY INTO SMALL FAMILY FARMS IN CUMBRIA

Rory has announced that he will be working closely with Julia Aglionby and the National Centre for the Uplands at Newton Rigg to commission a study that will assess the future of Cumbria’s small hill farms, looking in particular at the impact of historic government policy and subsidies on the reduction in number of smaller family […]

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RORY DEMANDS LONGER-TERM UPLANDS STRATEGY FROM DEFRA

Rory, Secretary of the APPG on Hill-Farming, has welcomed the announcement from DEFRA that all 1,600 Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) schemes will be renewed, citing this “a real triumph and a relief for our uplands farmers”. He has also requested that DEFRA produce an overall strategy statement on the future of the uplands. Speaking after […]

RORY RAISES THE CHALLENGES FACING CUMBRIA’S SHEEP FARMERS IN PARLIAMENT DEBATE

Rory raised the exceptional and devastating circumstances facing Cumbrian sheep farmers in a debate in parliament on Tuesday, 23 April. He drew attention not just to the recent heavy snowfall, but the many months of terrible weather conditions that preceded this. He particularly drew attention to the problems in the Bailey and Bewcastle valleys in the North […]

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Rory Speaks on Rural Communities

Transcript There is the possibility that those on the Front Bench will have a weary cynicism about this debate—a feeling that statistics are being thrown around, that special pleading is going on, names of councils being showered down on them, and figures of 50% or 2% and different definitions and so on being mentioned, but […]

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Rory Teams up with Tim Farron MP to Address Understocking of Fellsides

This morning, Cumbrian MPs Rory and Tim, as representatives of the Hill Farming APPG, met with Chair of Natural England, Poul Christensen, to discuss Natural England’s work within the uplands and the future of support for hill farmers. At the meeting Rory and Tim congratulated Natural England for its recent change in attitude towards the […]