MP supports Dartmoor Hill Farm Project in bid for transition funding
Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon is supporting the Dartmoor National Park Authority in its bid to secure transition funding in 2014 to allow the Hill Farm Project to continue its valuable work.
The MP has written in support of the project to David Heath, Minister for Agriculture & Food, who visited Dartmoor in May to speak to farmers about the work they do and the issues they face.
Mr Cox hopes that by highlighting the vital importance of projects like this for the local farming communities, the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project will secure the much needed funding necessary to enable it to continue its many successful initiatives, such as the Healthy Livestock Project, which focuses on animal health issues relevant to Dartmoor, and Moorskills, a farmer run company offering apprenticeships in upland farming.
Additional initiatives created by the project, such as the Dartmoor Farmers Association, which is a co-operative of approximately 50 Dartmoor farmers marketing award winning meat and operating as a buying group, are essential to the communities who live and work on Dartmoor. Without them, the local economy will suffer, which will have knock-on effects on tourism in the area, thereby affecting the economy of the South-West on a much wider scale.
Geoffrey Cox said: “Farming is crucial to the maintenance of Dartmoor, and it is this nationally recognised landscape that draws visitors to the area, providing a vital contribution to the economy (both at a local and national level).
“The Hill Farm Project aims to help farmers on Dartmoor to improve the viability of their businesses in ways that help sustain the unique qualities of the National Park, by working closely with over 450 farmers, providing advice and support on a range of issues. It also helps with the development of business ideas, and promotes and supports collaboration between farmers.
“I feel that the continuation of the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project possesses real benefits to farmers, local communities and the wider area. Therefore I very much hope that DEFRA will be able to assist the Dartmoor National Park Authority to achieve their laudable and practically useful aims.”
(from a press release)