02 February 1999
National Trust grants &163;400,000 farm aid
by FWi staff
THE National Trust has announced a &163;400,000 aid package to help its tenant farmers who have been hit by the crisis in agriculture.
The money looks like being the first in a series of payments aimed at boosting incomes for tenant farmers by funding a range of initiatives, especially in upland areas.
The proposals, which range from meat marketing schemes to whole farm plans, aim to bolster farm incomes while simultaneously improving the environment.
David Riddle, the trusts head of land agency, said he hoped the cash would help improve the longer term viability and environmental performance of many farms.
“The aim is not just making farms more profitable there has to be some sort of environmental benefit as well,” he said.
The trusts local land agents are being invited to apply for the cash as part of a competitive process.
Other projects which would qualify for aid include transforming old farm buildings into holiday accommodation, and other tourism-related enterprises or light industry.
The trust owns the largest farming estate in Britain with some 700 tenant farmers who manage about 140,000 hectares of land.
The cash offer comes just days after provisional government figures revealed that farm incomes last year slumped by 48%.