Friday, 28 May 2010

England - Upland ELS - Shortage of Applications

Farmers Weekly has quoted figures from the Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) about the very poor take-up of the Upland Entry Level Scheme (UELS) (see the article). This is worrying as it brings into question the continued viability of hill farms. If farmers are not willing or able to claim UELS, which is the replacement for Hill Farm Allowance (HFA) it does leave you wondering how they are going to manage to stay in the black.

The article quotes that applications have been received from 886 farmers out of the 9408 that were claiming under the HFA scheme.   the article goes on to quote the statement by TFA  flat "the government's policy for the uplands is not working". I would agree with this, but what are we going to do to improve the situation?  The uplands too important to ignore for very many reasons and we need to come up with a coherent strategy for them that is going to both maintain the landscape, the natural services and provide viable businesses for those who run enterprises and provide management in upland areas.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Grouse Count Summaries

For those wanting to know how Red Grouse have fared over the winter, the GWCT summary from David Howarth and Dave Newborn may be able to give you some reassurance.

The bottom line is "From our spring counts conducted in Scotland and England there is no evidence of stock depletion due to weather or weather induced migration."

Here's hoping that the picture obtained from the study sites is repeated across the country.

The same article paints a much bleaker picture for Black Grouse in England.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

From Smith Gore's 'Landscope':

'The proportion of shoppers buying local food has doubled in the last five years (from 15% to 30%) and is expected to continue to rise. Shoppers buy it for three main reasons: freshness, to support local shops and producers and because they think it reduces food miles.'

I suggest that this is a very positive trend for those with an interest in livestock production from the uplands.  Why do we import beef from Bolivia, for example?  It cannot be for quality, welfare grounds, saving carbon, disease control ..... or any factors apart from price?  

I think it is time we were even more active in promoting the benefits of home grown produce: control of welfare issues, quality, traceability, consistency, providing income to home producers & retail outlets, conservation benefits, carbon reduction.....

Does anyone disagree?

Vacancy - Research and Knowledge Exchange Associate, Centre for Mountain Studies, UHI, Perth

Research and Knowledge Exchange Associate
Salary: £19,307 - £21,453 per annum

The Centre for Mountain Studies (CMS) is based in Perth, at Perth College UHI, an Academic Partner of the UHI Millennium Institute (the future University of the Highlands and Islands)

More details

Friday, 7 May 2010

Country Market & Sporting Sale

The Sale closed to Bids at 12 noon, today.  Thank you to all our Donors and to those who bid for the Lots. Details of the Bids we received are on the website.

We will be notifying successful bidders very shortly and putting them in touch with the Donors.  I am sorry if your Bid was not successful, but I am grateful for your everyone's support with the Sale, which provides us with an essential financial lifeline.

There are a few Lots that are waiting for successful Bids.  Those we get approval from Donors for will be displayed on the website for a bit longer.  We will aim to have details on the web next week.  Please keep looking.