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Press Release

 

Wednesday 14 February

 

 

CUMBRIA AND DEVON COUNTIES MOST IN DANGER OF LOSING THEIR COUNTRYSIDE

 

Cumbria and Devon are the English counties most under threat of losing their countryside as we know it, according to Country Living Magazine. The fells of Cumbria and pastures of Devon are in danger of disappearing unless action is taken to reverse the decline in farms and farm workers, who carry out an estimated £400 million* in unpaid work across the country, maintaining the British landscape each year. Cumbria and Devon have seen a dramatic reduction in farms in recent years with Cumbria losing more than 500 sheep and beef farms between 2000 and 2005 and Devon losing in excess of 500 dairy farms in the same period.

 

The study, which was undertaken to support Country Livings Fair Trade for British Farmers campaign, looked at the decline in full-time farm workers, dairy holdings and grazing livestock holdings from 2000 to 2005. It has revealed the counties most likely to see a negative impact on their countryside unless we support farmers by buying the food they produce. While 86% of the public believe that Britain should be a farming nation, just 18% choose to buy British-produced food, according to a 2006 report commissioned by Sir Don Curry.

 

The top ten, in order of most at risk first are as follows;

 

1= Cumbria

1= Devon

  1. North Yorkshire
  2. Cornwall and Isles of Scilly
  3. Lancashire
  4. Staffordshire
  5. Cheshire
  6. Shropshire
  7. Hampshire and Isle of Wight
  8. Northumberland

 

 

Map of the UK highlighting counties most at risk

 

Sheep and beef farming are declining the fastest across the north, particularly in Northumberland, County Durham and Cumbria. Surrey is losing farm workers at the fastest rate with a 30% drop since 2000. Dairy farms have declined in Essex by nearly 40% in the last six years and Oxfordshire, County Durham and Hertfordshire have all lost more than a third of dairy farms.

 

Analysis of the data on the decline in dairy and grazing livestock holdings for the rest of the UK showed a similar trend. The traditional farming areas of Aberdeenshire, the Scottish Borders and South Ayrshire in Scotland, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion in Wales and Co Fermanagh in Northern Ireland are the counties most under threat.

 

Susy Smith, Editor, Country Living Magazine comments:

 

"Farming is crucial for maintaining the countryside we know and love  from the hedge-lined pastures of Devon to the dry-stone walls of the Yorkshire Dales  without it the landscape will change dramatically. To look after the countryside we also need to look after farmers and that means ensuring we buy produce from shops that pay a fair price to British farmers. It isnt much to ask, and it isnt charity, it is simply making sure that farmers earn a living wage for the food they supply."

 

Country Living is working with Waitrose and Farmers Guardian to campaign for Fair Trade for British Farmers. Consumers do have the power to change the current trend; the aim of the campaign is to do this by highlighting the need to buy fresh produce, particularly milk, beef and lamb, from retailers who pay a fair price to British farmers. The campaigns slogan no cows = no countryside is designed to emphasise to consumers the impact of the decline in farming on the make-up of the British countryside. The campaign launches in the March issue of Country Living, on sale now.

 

Steven Esom, Managing Director, Waitrose comments:

 

"We are passionate about the protection, promotion and future of our farming in Britain. Therefore, we welcome the opportunity of working with Country Living and encourage shoppers to actively seek out British-farmed food. By doing so they can vote with their feet and contribute to the success of farming in their area; thereby playing a vital role in preserving the countryside for future generations to enjoy."

 

Generations of farmers have shaped the British countryside, creating and maintaining characteristic features including hedgerows, dry stone walls, meadows, ponds and copses. As farming has declined, so has the countryside. Without taking steps to reverse the reduction in farms and farm workers the British countryside will change dramatically for the worst.

 

www.fairtradeforbritishfarmers.co.uk

 

* NFU estimate

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For further information please contact:

Tracey Jaques

PR Manager, Country Living

020 7439 5211 / 07730 637731

Tracey.jaques@natmags.co.uk

 

Notes to editors

 

Study Methodology:

 

Data for the number of farm workers, dairy holdings and sheep and beef holdings for each English county was taken for the years 2000 and 2005 (Data Source: Defra June Agricultural Census for 2000 and 2005). Each county was ranked according to the level of decline in each of these categories. The three ranking scores for each county were totalled to produce a composite picture of the counties where farming was most under threat.

 

 


Press Release

 

Wednesday 7th March

 

97% OF UK CONSUMERS BELIEVE FAIRTRADE PRINCIPLES SHOULD BE APPLIED TO UK FARMERS

 

97% of UK consumers believe fairtrade principles should be applied to UK farmers, according to a recent survey by Country Living magazine. The respondents agreed that a fair price for fresh produce should be guaranteed to British farmers in order for them to earn a living wage, mirroring the fairtrade scheme in place for some farmers in the developing world. 85% of respondents said they believe the British countryside is at threat because the farming industry is not given the support it needs.

 

The British public are keen to ensure farming survives in the UK with 92% of consumers claiming if British produce labelled fair trade were available they would make an effort to buy, even if the products cost more.

 

However there also appears to be some confusion with over a third (34%) of consumers believing the fairtrade products they already buy benefit both farmers in the UK and the developing world. 19% of respondents admitted they are not entirely sure what fairtrade means but understand they are making a more ethical choice.

 

The survey, which was undertaken to support Country Livings Fair Trade For British Farmers campaign, also looked at consumers buying behaviour. Only 13% of respondents said they always buy locally grown or produced fresh food. However 47% claimed to buy local produce most of the time. 84% know where their nearest farm shop is located and 44% buy from there at least once a month.

 

Susy Smith, Editor, Country Living magazine comments:

 

"Fairtrade principles are very commendable and have made a positive impact on the lives of farmers in the developing world. But people often forget that a growing number of farmers in the UK also struggle to earn a living wage. How many of us have made a cup of coffee, safe in the knowledge that a producer in Kenya has received a fair price for growing it, yet when we added the milk, didnt give a second thought to the farmer in Sussex going under because hes getting less for his milk than it costs to produce? Fairtrade works so well for the developing world, its common sense to apply those principles to farming here too  helping to secure the future of our farmers and therefore our countryside."

 

Steven Esom, Managing Director, Waitrose comments:

 

"The evidence that consumers are prepared to pay a fair price for British produce is reassuring. Apart from the obvious factors of food origins and ethics, it's essential that farmers get a sustainable return for the production of quality produce. An informed attitude to food shopping will support a thriving rural economy and contribute positively to the future of farming in Britain."

 

Country Living is working with Waitrose and Farmers Guardian to campaign for Fair Trade for British Farmers. The campaigns slogan no cows = no countryside is designed to emphasise to consumers the impact of the decline in farming on the make-up of the British countryside. The campaign launched in the March issue of Country Living, on sale now.

 

 

www.fairtradeforbritishfarmers.co.uk

 

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For further information please contact:

Tracey Jaques

PR Manager, Country Living

020 7439 5211 / 07730 637731

Tracey.jaques@natmags.co.uk