Farmers invited to talks on new payment schemes

New payments for maintaining dry stone walls seen here in Sleddale will be discussed at the meetings.

People farming in the Yorkshire Dales National Park are invited to attend one of five evening meetings in February, which are being held at the ‘crux moment’ of the government’s seven-year agricultural transition in England.

Advisers from the national park authority’s farm conservation team will be on hand in Hawes, Reeth, Orton, Sedbergh and Settle.

In the summer farmers will be able, for the first time, to submit a combined application for Countryside Stewardship and the Sustainable Farming Incentive, the government’s post-Brexit farm payment schemes.

The Environment Secretary earlier this month announced dozens of new options which farmers could get paid for, as well as increased payment rates.

Farmers in the uplands will be eligible for new payments for moorland management, as well as for keeping up dry stone walls.

Perhaps most significant is a greatly increased payment rate for managing grassland as species rich hay meadow.

Member champion for the natural environment at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Mark Corner, said: “As well as being at its mid-point, the Government’s seven-year agricultural transition has reached its crux moment.

“The Basic Payment Scheme is now closed, while the new combined Sustainable Farming Incentive/Countryside Stewardship offer is about to open for all.

“This means that in the next few months people farming in the national park may have some big decisions to make on how they wish to farm, and which options and payments they wish to pursue, in order to sustain a viable business.

“We are particularly keen to support people to get the new payment for species rich traditional hay meadows.

“Now there will be a more appropriate payment – of £646 per hectare, plus a £187 per hectare hay making supplement – to reflect the increased management needed to nurture an upland hay meadow.”

Mr Corner added:  “Our farm conservation team is likely to be in demand during this period, so booking a place at one of the free meetings is highly recommended.”

The evening meetings are scheduled as follows:

  • Mon 5 Feb, 7-9pm                   Hawes Market House,
  • Weds 7 Feb, 7-9pm                 Reeth Memorial Hall
  • Mon 12 Feb, 7-9pm                 Orton Market Hall, CA10 3RU
  • Fri 16 Feb, 7-9pm                    Sedbergh Peoples Hall
  • Tue 27 Feb, 7-9pm                  North Ribblesdale Rugby Club, Settle

Refreshments will be available at all venues, and the bar at the North Ribblesdale Rugby Football Club in Settle will also be open.

Farmers can contact or call 01756 751620 or 07979 151 801 to book a place.