Jane manages a third generation, upland beef and sheep farm located in the White Peak region of the Peak District, Derbyshire. The White Peak area of the Peak District is unique to the area, with species-rich pastures, hay meadows and dry-stone walls.
This made Jane eligible for the FiPL programme, aimed at farmers located in National Parks, AONB (Areas of Outstanding National Beauty) and the Norfolk Broads.
A group ran by farmers, for farmers
Having observed that the White Peak region had little collaboration between farmers, Jane explored FiPL as an opportunity to create a knowledge sharing group run by farmers for farmers.
In collaboration with the Farming Life Centre, she applied for FiPL through the Peak District National Park to set up the Peak Farmers Group – a collaborative organisation driven to learn and make informed decision about farm businesses.
The Peak Farmers Group is open to commercial farmers in and around the Peak District, offering opportunities for farmers to learn about new funding opportunities, as well as innovative and sustainable farming methods and techniques.
Despite being set up less than a year ago, the group has 197 members. The group hosts farm walks, talks and demonstrations to help farmers share knowledge and learn what they can do on their farms.
Meeting the outcomes of FiPL
The four outcomes of FiPL are delivered through the wide range of talks and demonstrations.
The outcome of ‘People’ is at the heart of the group which is now an integral part of the local farming community and brings people together to discuss everything from improvements to the environment to the importance of food security.
With a complex number of grants currently available for farmers and landowners, it can be difficult to keep track.
The Peak Farmers Group enables farmers to be better informed about schemes such as CS (Countryside Stewardship), SFI (Sustainable Farming Incentive), FiPL, EWCO (England Woodland Creation Offer) and many more. This information helps farmers to explore alternative income streams while they transition away from direct payments.
The Farming Life Centre currently holds an agreement with the Peak District National Park to co-ordinate the Peak Farmers Group and has been awarded a 100% grant to run the project for the duration of 25 months.
The Peak Farmers Group, Farming Life Centre, and Peak District National Park are hopeful that there will be opportunity for the project to outlive the initial grant period and continue into the future.
Contact your local FiPL officer today
Jane recommends that if a farmer in or near a protected landscape has a unique idea for their business or area that could fit with the outcomes of FiPL, they should contact their local FiPL officer to discuss and develop their project with them.
Those interested should not delay contacting their local protected landscape body/FiPL Officer, even if it’s just to ask questions. Overall, Jane had a very positive experience with the FiPL application process and programme.