David Renwick – Director of Conservation
I’ve been lucky enough over the past couple of months to have visited a number of farmers and land owners in various parts of the National Park. I’ve seen first-hand how challenging but rewarding their way of life is and how it’s very much more than a job! They live, breathe and sleep the work they do and it’s that work which keeps the North York Moors landscape what it is – iconic, beautiful and inspiring. They are trying to make a living from a sector that faces uncertainty and change – vastly varying prices, and increased red tape along with increasingly arm’s length support such as the new ‘digital by default’ requirements – I could go on.
But despite the challenges there are still many success stories in the National Park farming story and these help create the backdrop to the delivery of good environmental outcomes – be it farmers working with us on habitat connectivity; traditional boundaries being restored and managed within the landscape; catchment sensitive farming actions to protect water resources and preserve soil nutrient; or woodland management to provide cover, habitat and wood fuel.
Every farm is different and every farmer has a different philosophy which is applied to their
particular holding. It is the interaction of these two things which results in differing opportunities for us to work with land managers positively in order to take forward our priorities. Some farms are livestock only; some are mixed arable and livestock. Some farms are dairy and some are mixed dairy, beef and sheep. We have hill farms with moor flocks. We have traditional hefts and robotic dairy parlours. We have organic, upland,
lowland, coastal…we have pigs, poultry, ducks and geese…the list goes on and the combinations are endless. The diversity of farming in the Park is great.
But regardless of the particular blend of farming on any one farm we are confident there is always a way in
which a balance can be struck to allow land management that makes economic and environmental sense – and keeps the landscape looking tip top too! We look forward to continuing our work with our farmers in 2015 and beyond. I hope the National Park can make a really positive contribution to help – be it lobbying for land
management interests in the area, helping disseminate best practice and supporting networks for farmers, making links into wider opportunities like the Local Enterprise Partnerships, providing our own modest grant support or signposting to that of others.
Thank you to all the National Park’s farmers, land managers, land owners and estates and I hope they, and everyone else who we’ve worked with in 2014, have a good Christmas and a Happy New Year. Well-earned I’m sure.