Prince backs small family farms
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).