Caroline Spelman, Defra Secretary, has announced a package of measures to support hill farming and upland rural communities
The package includes up to £20m for a new rural Community Broadban Fund to help 'ensure that fast and reliable access is availalble in upland communities'. There will also be up to £6m availalble for hill farmers to draw on for environmental measures.
The report, published on Thursday, outlining the Government review of the uplands, acknowledges that it is 'harder for hill farmers, who are highly dependent on livestock, to make a living out of agriculture along than it is for farmers in the English lowlands'. It points out without Single Payments many upland farmers would currently be making a loss on their farm business acitivites.
“Our intention is to support and encourage all hill farmers to improve the competitiveness of their core agricultural business. At the same time, it is vital that hill farmers grasp the opportunities to diversify, whether as managers of the natural resources and ecosystems of the uplands, or through other business opportunities” the report says.