08 September 1998
Hill-farmers attack Agenda 2000 stocking limits

THE National Beef Association (NBA) and the National Sheep Association (NSA) have launched an offensive against environmentalists who want to see more livestock taken off the hills.

The groups have joined forces to protest against the adoption of a limit of 1.4 livestock units per hectare under Agenda 2000 reforms.

They have warned that if support payments were tied to the limits, it would lead to accelerated destocking in areas where farming is already balanced on a knife-edge.

The NBA said: “People cannot make a living from land invaded by birch, broom, thorn, hazel or bracken. If cattle and sheep are thinned out, then upland farmers will be, too.”

John Thorley, chief executive of the NSA, said he was concerned at the prospect of the Government being persuaded to play “environmental games” by abolishing premiums on breeding animals and loading Hill Livestock Compensatory Allowances with demands for cross-compliance on environmental issues.

Robert Robinson, chairman of the NBA, said claims that the uplands and hills were overgrazed land had not been properly examined.