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Farming

CPRE's Vision for the future of farming

In our 2026 Vision for the Countryside CPRE looked to a brighter, better future. The role of farming in helping to deliver that future is critical. This vision sets out our aspirations for a farming system that, by 2026, our centenary year, will be helping to create a more vibrant countryside, environmentally, socially and economically.

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CPRE's Vision for the future of farming: Arable farming

Arable farming has changed enormously over the past 60 years and the size of arable farms has greatly increased, resulting in significant changes to the character of many of our landscapes. This is CPRE's analysis of the challenges facing arable farming, and our suggestions for a sustainable future for the sector.

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CPRE's Vision for the future of farming: Beef and sheep farming

Beef cattle and sheep farming helps maintain many of our most important wildlife habitats, as well as the character of our beautiful countryside. This is CPRE's analysis of the challenges facing beef and sheep farming, including our ideas to help secure its future as a profitable sector which continues to enhance landscapes.

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CPRE's Vision for the future of farming: Dairy farming

The number of dairy farms in the UK has declined dramatically over the last two decades, with a move towards larger farms and herds. Here, CPRE explore the options for reversing this trend and create a thriving dairy sector with benefits for local food webs and landscapes.

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CPRE's Vision for the future of farming: Horticulture

CPRE's Vision for the future of farming looks at the issues surrounding the horticulture sector, including the impact of polytunnels on the landscape and the challenge of getting seasonal, homegrown produce back on shelves and menus. We set out our ideas for reviving the sector to benefit independent producers and strengthen local food webs.

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CPRE's Vision for the future of farming: Pig and poultry farming

Intensive production of pork and chicken meat and eggs has highlighted a range of welfare and environmental concerns. Here, CPRE examines these concerns and sets out how the pig and poultry sector could benefit from higher animal welfare standards, and what needs to be done to provide more support for our farmers

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Crunch time for CAP

Choosing the right tools for a richer countryside

CPRE, as part of the Joint Links coalition of UK conservation bodies, believes that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) should be radically reformed to bring about a revolution in the protection and enrichment of Europe’s landscapes and habitats. This report outlines the measures that need to be developed to help make farming more sustainable, humane and wildlife-friendly. By 2020 the CAP must be doing much more to restore and enhance our natural and historic landscapes, and making a bigger contribution towards meeting targets and commitments on biodiversity, climate change and natural resource protection.

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Living landscapes

Hidden costs of managing the countryside
What does it cost to maintain England's beautiful, diverse farmed landscapes, and who does the work? A survey in May 2005 by the National Farmers' Union and CPRE has come up with a first estimate for the cost of the landscape management work undertaken by England's farmers. Our research findings are revealed in this new joint report, which makes a strong case for continued public support for farming in return for the work needed to maintain a beautiful countryside for the benefit of us all.

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New model farming

Resilience through diversity

The first paper in CPRE's new Food and Farming Foresight series suggests that, following the EU referendum decision, there is an opportunity for major policy change to develop a new vision and policies that will establish a sound future for farming. The paper identifies a range of recommendations to increase the diversity, sustainability and resilience of the farming sector on which so much of our countryside depends..

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Uncertain harvest: does the loss of farms matter?

The latest paper in CPRE's Farming Foresight paper looks at the data on farm numbers and sizes and raises questions about the loss of farms and their diversity.

UK data show that we have lost over a fifth of English farms in the past ten years alone. In particular, the number offarms below 200 hectares is falling. Numbers of intermediate and smaller farms are declining, though smaller farms are the worst affected. If current trends continue, few if any farms under 20ha could be left within a generation while most of those up to 50ha could be gone in two generations. Worse still, the official data may underestimate the extent of change occurring in who manages the land.

This report argues that farm size diversity is a crucial consideration as we move towards Brexit. It could help deliver the many public benefits that we need farming to provide and that public funding – and the market where possible – should foster and reward.

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