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Farron calls for fair deal for hill farmers

May 12, 2006 10:11 AM

Local MP, Tim Farron, highlighted the need on Wednesday for hill farmers to be given a fair deal by the Government. The Hill Farm Allowance, which rewards hill farmers for their stewardship of the land, is due to be replaced by a new reward structure in 2007. DEFRA is currently carrying out a consultation process on the new system.

Speaking after a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming, which he chairs, Tim Farron said:

"Representing hill farmers in Westminster is a job I take very seriously. That is why I invited Ian Soane from the International Centre for the Uplands Cumbria to speak at my regular hill farming meeting. I will be talking to many other experts before I respond to the DEFRA consultation.

"Ian had an important message, one which I will pass on to DEFRA. He told me that the people of Cumbria see hill farming as part of their local culture. They support small family farms and traditional farming skills. These farmers made our local environment what it is today. To borrow a phrase, 'It took 450 years of hard work to make the land look this untouched'.

"The new system must give local hill farmers the rewards they deserve for the important role they play. I will be fighting hard for Cumbrian farmers and putting their perspective to the new Secretary of State for DEFRA, David Miliband."