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Jane has asked for my opinions on set-aside. So here goes, not, I’m afraid, a terribly sexy subject!

Set-aside was originally put in place in the early nineties as a production control measure to take around 10% of arable land out of cropping; it was not an environmental scheme. I can remember the huge outcry from the farming community as some of England’s good arable land lay fallow. Apart from letting the land revert there were specific things you could and could not do to manage the land; these requirements changed over the years. Back at the beginning, for example, you could grow fodder legumes (lucerne, vetches and clovers) and graze at certain times with goats, camilids and horses (hence the exorbitant prices alpacas and lamas commanded back then and the start of the huge surge into horsiculture). These things stick in my mind as I was running a milking herd of goats that benefited from a neighbour’s lucerne hay and some herb-rich grazing. There was some talk of environmental opportunities missed, but the increases is farmland birds and rare arable plants that followed was incidental, not a planned benefit. Read the rest of this entry »

Locks Park Farm

Thanks for visiting my blog. All entries are presented in chronological order.

I have a small organic farm on the Culm grasslands near Hatherleigh in Devon, with sheep and beef cattle. I've been farming in the county for more than 30 years. I've set up this blog to share views on farming and the countryside - please do give your thoughts.



The Campaign to Protect Rural England has helped set up this blog. We want farming to thrive in England, and believe that it is essential that people understand farming and farmers better in order for that to happen. Paula's views expressed here are her own and we won't necessarily share all of them, but we're happy to have helped give her a voice.

Find our more about CPRE and our views on food and farming at our website,