A farm in Nidderdale is to feature on Channel 5’s Springtime on the Farm this week looking at the plight of hill farmers.
TV Researchers worked with the team at Cause UK and Nidderdale AONB to tell the story of Toft Gate Farm in Pateley Bridge.
Farm Conservation Advisor at Nidderdale AONB, Marian Wilby said: “It’s important the struggle hill farmers’ face is being highlighted. In the past year, the AONB has hosted a series of events – Farming for the Future – in association with the Princes Countryside Fund, advising farmers to look at their business model post-Brexit.”
Farmers currently receive subsidies under the EU which will end in 2024.
Chris Clark, an Upper Wharfedale farmer and business management adviser, visited over 25 farms in and around Nidderdale as part of his research for Farming for the Future.
Chris said: “I believe what is happening in hill farming and agriculture shares similarities to what happened in the coalmines in the North of England. The need for coal changed, but for coal miners, their work was a part of their DNA and identity, ingrained in their community. It was hard to adapt. Hill farmers share that same sense of purpose; it’s their livelihood. But I believe their purpose is going to fundamentally change in the next five to ten years. Research points to the very real scenario that their purpose will change from food production to include different public and environmental benefits.”
There are 800 farmers in Nidderdale. The average income of farmers without subsidies is £22,000; in Nidderdale this can be as low as £7,000-£8,000.
Farm Conservation Advisor at Nidderdale AONB, Marian Wilby, said: “Farming is vitally important in Nidderdale, and it’s helped create the special landscape qualities that underpin our status as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We want to ensure the existing farm holdings survive. As well as upland livestock farming making a vital contribution to landscape, it’s integral to our rural economy and our communities.”
Toft Gate Farm will feature on the show this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (9, 10, 11 April).
Steven McArdle, Chris Prince, Caroline Prince, Lindsay Chapman, Martin Prince, Ellie Cook, Anna Prince, Lucy Staveley, Robert Copley. Lindsay Chapman visits a family who are struggling to keep their farm afloat. Chris and Caroline Prince farm in Pately Bridge and have opened a café to diversify however it hasn’t all gone to plan. Farmer Robert Copley who was in a similar situation to the Prince’s visits them to give them some advice in hope to save the farm and business. Toft Gate Farm, Pateley Bridge. Pic credit: Daisybeck Studios.