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Farron calls for urgent action after shocking report on hill farming

October 12, 2012 12:04 PM

Rural TFCumbrian MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming Tim Farron has called for urgent government action after an Oxfam report stated that farming families are going without food so they can afford to feed their livestock.

Better known for its charitable work overseas, Oxfam funded a report called Challenges Facing Farmers. They did this to try and provide a definitive study on the hardships faced by families struggling to make a living in the uplands. The report says that cash flow problems have forced hill farmers in the uplands to take drastic action - cutting back on the weekly grocery bill and forgoing basics such as food - as well as slashing costs to keep their farms viable.

The report, Challenges Facing Farmers, will be launched in London today.

Farmers frequently find themselves living way below the poverty line. A single working-age adult living in a village needs to earn at least £19,820 in order to meet their needs, according to official figures. But some farmers in the uplands have an income of £12,600 - with some earning as little as £8,000 a year.

Commenting, Tim said: "This report is shocking but sadly puts in print what many of us know already, that many hill famers are working 80 hour weeks and living under the poverty line. These farmers tend our uplands and make sure our spectacular, world class landscape is maintained and accessible. It is vital that those farmers are fairly rewarded for their work and that the unfair market in which they operate is transformed so that we have fair trade for British farmers. Government must ensure real action for our upland farmers."