The landscape of the Dales, as we know and treasure it, reflects both the forces of nature and millennia of human occupation and activity. This has included both industrial and farming practices, the latter rooted in centuries of land and stock management. The seminal paper by John Dower said that farming is pivotal to what constitutes a National Park. In the Yorkshire Dales, agriculture remains a fundamentally important activity, not only managing the land and landscape features, but also employing 10% of the residents (in 2011).
Much of the land in the Yorkshire Dales consists of “uplands”. One definition of “uplands” is what is classed as a “severely disadvantaged area”. SDAs cover two thirds of our National Parks yet receive only 7% of support payments. By the NFU’s wider definition of “uplands”, which also includes some land not in the SDA, these areas have 44% of the national sheep flock and 40% of the beef herd. The importance of the upland breeding livestock resource cannot be overestimated in terms of its value to agriculture, both in the uplands and in strengthening livestock in the lowlands.
Globalisation, whilst providing many economic benefits to the national economy, can result in major problems for upland farmers. A recent example is the collapse of milk prices: many dairy farmers are forced to sell milk at prices lower than the actual cost of production. Similar fluctuations in beef, sheep and wool prices also cause major problems for farmers.
For these reasons, we believe that upland farming will continue to need external intervention in the market place in the form of support and subsidy, since it is essential for maintaining the national sheep flock and cattle herd, as well as maintaining the inspiring landscapes we most value, but is not a profitable farming practice. It also delivers a number of other public benefits, including food security, biodiversity, access, historic features, water quality, water supply, conservation of soils (including peat), and opportunities to moderate damaging river floods.
The YDNP is part of the area covered by the Northern Upland Chain Local Nature Partnership and the work of this body in promoting High Nature Value Farming should be recognized and supported both politically and financially.
What we will do
We have cancelled all forthcoming events due to coronavirus except for online events.
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"it's more beautiful than you realise; the people are open and friendly and have time for you; your phone might not work which is a positive as you'll have more time - slow down and enjoy the silence".
Chair: Bruce McLeod
Canal Wharf, Eshton Road, Gargrave, BD23 3PN.
Charity number 515384.Company limited by guarantee number 1822908