Prince backs small fam­ily farms

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

The Prince of Wales is lend­ing sup­port to em­bat­tled small fam­ily farms through a new scheme, his most far-reach­ing yet. The £1.5mil­lion, five-year Prince’s Farm Re­silience Pro­gramme aims to pro­vide busi­ness sup­port and oneto-one guid­ance to im­prove long-term sus­tain­abil­ity through The Prince’s Coun­try­side Fund ( PCF). ‘The small farms which have been such an in­te­gral part of Bri­tain’s land­scape for thou­sands of years are un­der threat,’ he warns. ‘My pro­gramme is de­signed to re­spond by help­ing up to 300 hard-to-reach, vul­ner­a­ble farm busi­nesses.’ Last year, the av­er­age farm in­come fell be­low £20,000 for the first time since 2007. A Pcf-com­mis­sioned study by the Univer­sity of Ex­eter re­veals that, over the past 20–30 years, small fam­ily farms have de­creased by half. It iden­ti­fied a lack of suc­ces­sion plan­ning, volatil­ity in milk, beef and lamb prices and weak ex­port trade and do­mes­tic de­mand as be­ing among the many prob­lems. On the plus side, many small farms are deemed as ef­fi­cient as some larger ones. Re­cruit­ment for the pro­gramme be­gins in Septem­ber (www.princescoun­tryside­fund.org.uk). PL

Paint­ing live: visi­tors to wildlife artist Jonathan Sains­bury’s stand, My Ark for Na­ture, at this week­end’s in­au­gu­ral Coun­try­file Live at Blen­heim Palace, Wood­stock, Ox­ford­shire, will be able to watch him at work—lim­ited-edi­tion framed prints of this char­coal draw­ing of a hedge­hog will be on sale dur­ing the show at £ 85 (Au­gust 4–7, www. coun­try­file­live.com).

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