9 July 1999

Diversification drive

FARMERS in North Yorks are being actively encouraged to diversify in order to stem farmings decline.

"Our relationship with farming has changed," said Jonathan French, economic development officer for North Yorkshire County Council, as he explained the steps that the council had taken to secure the future of farming in the region.

North Yorks, the most rural county in England, was this years featured county at the Royal Show.

Mr French said almost £2m of European funding was currently being made available through a farm diversification fund, administered by the county council.

Farms can apply to take part in either the farm diversification initiative or the farm tourism initiative. Projects must diversify the farms income base and must lead to self-sustaining economic activities.

"There is no doubt of the increasing pressures facing farmers, and their constant fight for survival is clearly evident. We must do all we can to support them," Mr French said.