Upland Livestock Farming
Many of the landscapes found in National Parks depend upon livestock grazing for long term conservation management. Yet this traditional form of farming is facing many threats and needs to be supported if it is to continue to provide the numerous public benefits it delivers. This is the central message in ENPAA’s new policy position statement on Upland Livestock Farming in National Parks.
The Statement highlights how sympathetic livestock farming in upland National Parks shapes the landscape; supports nature conservation, and through providing high quality naturally produced food is a key part of rural economies. It relies on farming skills passed down through generations, and itself, forms part of the cultural heritage of National Parks. Despite being central to the make up of National Parks, traditional livestock farming remains vulnerable. Changes in the prices for some farm commodities; the effects of the Foot and Mouth outbreaks; and changes in public funding support are all having an impact.
The Statement explains how National Park Authorities in the uplands, working with partners, are already supporting traditional livestock farming. ENPAA believes the Government has a key role to play - through European negotiations over the Common Agriculture Policy, and here at home in the development of the ‘Upland Rewards Scheme’ and by amending existing funding mechanisms.
For solutions to exist in the longer term it is essential that public awareness is also raised of the environmental and other benefits gained through traditional livestock farming within National Parks. This is a task that can only be achieved by everyone with an interest in the uplands working together.