Boost for regenerative farming in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

REGENERATIVE agriculture has received a boost in the Yorkshire Dales National Parkthrough a new grants program that has completed its first year of operation.

More than 30 projects – almost all led by farmers – have started with support from the Agriculture in Protected Landscapes programme.

They include the introduction of a rotational grazing system, called ‘mob’ or ‘regenerative’, at Gaythorne Hall Farm near the village of Asby in the Westmorland Dales part of the national park. Farmer Jim Beary used a grant to help pay for infrastructure to provide water around the farm and better protect waterways, while reducing field sizes to benefit wildlife and livestock.

For the year to the end of next March, a further £1.3million will be made available to farmers in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. In the third and final year of the Farming in Protected Landscape scheme, in 2023-24, £1m will be available.

Jim Beary of Gaythorne Hall Farm said, “We couldn’t have done what we do without the Farming in Protected Landscapes program. The grant allowed us to start transforming the agricultural system. It was a very quick process. We were able to discuss with the national park authority what we both wanted and come up with a plan that works for everyone.

“We want the agricultural system to be more resilient and more environmentally friendly. Resilience means that we will be better placed to continue farming in the future, both from a financial point of view and in the face of climate change and all the challenges that will come with it.

A total of 31 cross-thematic projects were supported in the first year of Farming in Protected Landscapes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. A local panel whose members include several local farmers met seven times during the year to assess all entries against the benefits they would bring to climate, nature, people and place.

Farming in Protected Landscapes is a program of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which is administered in the Yorkshire Dales National Park by the National Park Authority.

In 2021-22, there were the following projects:

1) 24 projects to deal with the “climate emergency” including 300ha of land managed with regenerative agriculture techniques;

2) 17 projects for the benefit of the populations including 4 projects integrating educational visits to the farm;

3) 24 nature projects including 708ha of habitat improvement for biodiversity; and

4) 28 projects for the place, including 15 projects increasing the resilience of nature-friendly sustainable agricultural enterprises, thus contributing to a stronger local economy.

Ian McPherson, Natural Environment Champion Member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: “This is a good start for the Farming in Protected Landscapes program and we expect it to resume from from here. What is so encouraging is that farmers are using the subsidies to create profitable farming systems.

“A regenerative rotational grazing system such as that introduced at Gaythorne Hall Farm will greatly reduce the need for feed, fuel and fertilizer inputs, while the new hedgerows will make the farm a better refuge for the wildlife. People are also going to enjoy it, as a camping business is expected to make the most of the high value wildlife and landscape on the farm.

“I would like to take this opportunity to warmly invite farmers to share their ideas with us. A grant for farming in protected landscapes can help farmers realize their ambitions.

About Keneth T. Graves

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