Raising a voice for High Nature Value Farmers
Five things the UK Government and Devolved Administrations must do now to save High Nature Value (HNV) farming:
- Through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) ensure that High Nature Value (HNV) farmers are properly rewarded for supporting our most precious wildlife and landscapes. Across the UK, there are thousands of farming businesses that contribute hugely to supporting our best natural assets, but these are failed by current CAP approaches.
- Prioritise spending on targeted Rural Development Programmes across the UK that support the farming systems most important for wildlife and secure viable incomes for HNV farmers to enable them to deliver for society and the environment.
- Build on what we’ve got: through valuable funding programmes such as LIFE+ and INTERREG, support local community led initiatives that encourage the continuation of sustainable grazing and land management in places of highest value. These initiatives can foster investment in HNV systems, for example, via appropriate processing, marketing, revenues from certified products, sustainable tourism and business support.
- Make progress in identifying and monitoring HNV systems – this is a priority of the European Commission and a requirement for all Member States. In the UK, the Scottish Government has already made considerable progress in developing a HNV farming indicator; England, Wales and Northern Ireland must now follow suit and make this a policy priority, ensuring farmers are engaged in the process.
- Invest in research on HNV farming systems across the UK, including an assessment of the broad benefits they provide for society and the threats they face. The ‘sustainable intensification’ approach to farming fails to recognise the important environmental, cultural and economic benefits that these more extensive farming systems can provide.