‘Regenerative farming’ has received a boost in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, owing to a new grants programme which has completed its first year of operation.
More than thirty projects – nearly all of them farmer-led – have got off the ground with support from the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme.
They include the introduction of a rotational grazing system, called ‘mob’ or ‘regenerative’ grazing, at Gaythorne Hall Farm near the village of Asby in the Westmorland Dales part of the National Park. Farmer Jim Beary (pictured) has used a grant to help pay for infrastructure to supply water around the farm and better protect watercourses, while also reducing field sizes to benefit wildlife and livestock.
For the year to the end of next March a further £1.3 million is available to farmers in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. In the third and final year of the Farming in Protected Landscape programme, in 2023/24, £1 million will be available.
Jim Beary from Gaythorne Hall Farm said: “We couldn’t have done what we are doing without the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme. The grant has enabled us to start transforming the farming system. It’s been a very quick process. We’ve been able to discuss with the National Park Authority what both of us want and come up with a plan that suits everybody.
“We want the farming system to be more resilient and more sympathetic to the environment. Resilience means we’ll be better placed to continue farming in the future, from both a financial perspective and dealing with climate change and all the challenges that will bring.”
A total of 31 multi-themed projects were supported in the first year of Farming in Protected Landscapes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. A local panel whose membership includes several local farmers met seven times during the year to assess all the applications against the benefits they would bring to climate, nature, people and place.
Farming in Protected Landscapes is a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs programme, which is being administered in the Yorkshire Dales National Park by the National Park Authority.
The headline numbers for 2021/22 were:
- 24 projects to address the ‘climate emergency’ including 300ha of land being managed with regenerative farming techniques
- 17 projects that will benefit people including four projects incorporating educational visits to farms
- 24 projects for nature including 708ha of habitat improvement for biodiversity
- 28 projects for place including 15 projects increasing the resilience of nature friendly sustainable farm businesses, contributing a more thriving local economy
Member Champion for the Natural Environment at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Ian McPherson, said: “It’s been a good start to the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme and we expect it only to pick up from here. What’s so encouraging is that farmers are using the grants to create profitable farming systems.
“A regenerative rotational grazing system such as that being introduced at Gaythorne Hall Farm will substantially reduce the need for inputs of feed, fuel and fertiliser, while the new hedgerows will make the farm a better home for wildlife. People are going to benefit, too, as there are plans for a camping enterprise to make the most of the farm’s high wildlife and landscape value. “I would like to take this opportunity to warmly invite farmers to contact us with their ideas. A Farming in Protected Landscapes grant can help farmers achieve their ambitions.”