What Will Be The Turning Point?

I live in the affluent South East and farm in what is considered to be a very picturesque area and has a designation of an AONB.

There are two River valleys that have changed very little in terms of development but agriculturally the upper parts of the valleys are dying.
I went for a walk this evening being a beautiful sunny evening and walked some miles along what is the largest of the valleys and was shocked as to what has happened to what were very productive farms.

In this valley there used to be over 20 different farmers who lived on the farms and were mostly mixed livestock and arable with a couple of fruit farms. Now on the same land only 5 still live on the farms they run. The rest have sold off all the properties and many of the buildings have been converted.
The lower land of several hundred acres which is good grade 2 arable land is contract farmed and no one lives there.
Then there is a block of mostly sheep run by one family that have around 3,000 ewes and do live in the valley.
There is another block of 300 acres that has summer grazed cattle and environmental scheme by an absentee owner.
Then an organic beef and sheep farm which is farmed reasonably well and the owner and his son do live on the farm but is very undergrazed.
Then there is a sizeable fruit farm which is run entirely by East Europeans and the owner lives miles away.
After this there were a number of small farms with nice old houses, all sold off to people who bought them for the attractive landscape that was a patchwork of fields and managed woodland. Pockets of the land are grazed but most is now derelict or a few horses. Probably an area of between 500 and a thousand acres some of which is in environmental schemes but mostly ungrazed and rushes and scrub. This was all good grade 3 land that used to have sheep and cattle on it.

The ditches, gates and fences are all falling into disrepair and it would be difficult for this land to be turned around without significant amounts of money being spent. There are no livestock buildings left and no handling facilities.
I asked myself what would or could be the turning point to put this land back into productive farmland? Will it take another war? Or this time will it just revert to scrub and woodland and everyone be happy that this is "rewilding" whatever that means.
 

Formatted

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
SE
We're in West Sussex and same story here. Permitted development has made a lot of farmers very rich but it has a lot to answer for. We are looking for a yard with barns but everything like that has been converted or bought by someone who is planning to convert it and doesn't want livestock in it. Ultimately though, is there a future for farming round here? Or is a case of where there were once 20 farmers there are now 4/5 who graze of contract the rest? Isn't that just progress?
 

Al R

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Wales
Mass amounts going for rewilding locally, I was asked last year by someone how many people used to work on the land I’m now farming with sheep only. 1.5 of us are farming what 11 full time people in 1990 used to work, that was without dozens of workers for hay/straw/planting potatoes and hundreds in for picking potatoes. Their now all land only farms with non farmers living in the houses or holiday cottages, more the later than former.
 

DrWazzock

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
But land doesn’t really lend itself to leisure. Surely they soon get bored walking over it, or looking at it? If I didn’t “work” the land I’d move into town. Can’t think of anything worse than just watching land degrade.
 

teslacoils

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
But land doesn’t really lend itself to leisure. Surely they soon get bored walking over it, or looking at it? If I didn’t “work” the land I’d move into town. Can’t think of anything worse than just watching land degrade.

They never get bored about complaining about those farming it.

Look at willingham woods - I'd bet if you planted 200ac of trees with some walks, spaces for ziplines when it grows, decent "dog friendly " cafe then it would pee on the returns from crops .
 

DrWazzock

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
They never get bored about complaining about those farming it.

Look at willingham woods - I'd bet if you planted 200ac of trees with some walks, spaces for ziplines when it grows, decent "dog friendly " cafe then it would pee on the returns from crops .
Ha ha. We had a bloke living in a van in the plantation that borders the farm. Said he was “on holiday”. Anyway he came across to us for help as he could not get his van started after a week sitting there. He was finally going back to Bristol so we helped him out with a slave battery as better he moved on than hung around for too long. Anyway he paid us very well for our help and thanked us for letting him stay in “our” wood. Got us thinking it would actually be a big money spinner to allow wild camping here.
But really personally I’d get pretty bored living in a van in the woods.
 

Al R

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Wales
Ha ha. We had a bloke living in a van in the plantation that borders the farm. Said he was “on holiday”. Anyway he came across to us for help as he could not get his van started after a week sitting there. He was finally going back to Bristol so we helped him out with a slave battery as better he moved on than hung around for too long. Anyway he paid us very well for our help and thanked us for letting him stay in “our” wood. Got us thinking it would actually be a big money spinner to allow wild camping here.
But really personally I’d get pretty bored living in a van in the woods.
Farming 1600 ewes is easier than farming 12 people in self contained caravans/campervans. No showers/toilets/electric to mess around with but still hassle!
 

DrWazzock

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
They never get bored about complaining about those farming it.

Look at willingham woods - I'd bet if you planted 200ac of trees with some walks, spaces for ziplines when it grows, decent "dog friendly " cafe then it would pee on the returns from crops .
From what I’ve seen, diversifications are a distraction from the core farming business which then suffers or is “let out” at “caretaker” rents. The farm ends up let on an FBT while the original farmer ends up fully occupied with the “diversification”. I’m quite wary for that reason. Would I want to swap a day drilling for a day looking after a zip wire or a dog walking park/camp site? No. But there again I’m unsociable and not a people person.
 

teslacoils

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
From what I’ve seen, diversifications are a distraction from the core farming business which then suffers or is “let out” at “caretaker” rents. The farm ends up let on an FBT while the original farmer ends up fully occupied with the “diversification”. I’m quite wary for that reason. Would I want to swap a day drilling for a day looking after a zip wire or a dog walking park/camp site? No. But there again I’m unsociable and not a people person.
I was suggesting a complete cessation of farming. All the parts would be let out to leisure businesses.

I've been a bit distracted what with children starting school but in reality I've been making jobs for myself. Could easily sub even more out and just go drive a digger. Little tractor to "keep it tidy".

260ac of my own. 50ac stewardship. 60ac let grass. Contractor already cuts it and drills it. To my limit on organic manures so can't keep any beasts to earn (loose) time and money. Grain to coop. What do I really, actually add?
 
I see lots of country cottages and properties going up massively in value as people either convert the buildings very easily nowadays with very little planning issues ,or the folk that are working from home now ,nearly most of their time ,so they want that property out of the way . Its whats driving prices ,they dont need that house in the suburbs any more
 

delilah

Member
All meaningful change is demand driven. If you all stopped shopping at supermarkets and instead shopped at farmers markets, you would at least be doing your bit to, as the the thread title puts it, stimulate the turning point. Sorry I forgot, you all think that farmers markets are a rip off, to be smirked at, and the folks who are actually trying trying to find the turning point, rather than just talking about it, are interfering lentil knitters who should feck off and leave food production to the experts.
Muppets. Hypocritical muppets the lot of you.
 

NI agri-food stakeholder groups discuss climate change bill with committee

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Written by Richard Halleron from Agriland

The Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) recently submitted oral evidence to members of the Stormont Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (AERA) committee on the content and potential impact of the Northern Ireland Climate Change Bill (No.2).

This draft legislation was recently introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in conjunction with agriculture minister, Edwin Poots.

“We were accompanied by representatives from a wide range of food industry bodies, including the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters’ Association,the Ulster Farmers’ Union [UFU], Northern...
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