Moorland farm survey on livestock grazing
Hill farmers on Exmoor are being urged to complete a questionnaire which has been sent to all of those working in the National Park to gauge the decline of livestock grazing the uplands.
The survey is being conducted by the South West Uplands Federation with support from Exmoor National Park and the Exmoor Hill Farm Project.
It includes questions about the types of livestock on the farm, sales and income and numbers of livestock grazing on the commons.
Sarah Bryan, head of conservation and access at the National Park, said: "The last survey showed a continuing decline in livestock grazing on Exmoor. We are particularly concerned about the low numbers grazing on our moorlands and hope that this survey will help to provide more detailed evidence about this worrying trend."
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John Waldon, of the South West Uplands Federation, stressed all the answers provided would be completely confidential and not used for anything else.
"The results will be analysed and a report provided by the end of the year," he said.
"In 2007 we produced a report on hill farming that played a critical role in demonstrating the importance that it plays in protecting our important landscapes – and an update is vital.
"A high response rate from farmers involved will demonstrate to the Government and their agencies that hill farmers do care about their future and seek a better deal.
"Without this evidence it is hard to argue for changes that will benefit hill farming."