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• This note describes the system of allowances paid to hill farmers. Hill farm support is closely related to policy on sheep, in another note Sheep (SN/SC/1116). The Single Farm Payments system for farmers is described in Agriculture – Health Check of the CAP (SN/SC/3680).

• The Coalition Government Programme said that it would “develop a system of extra support for hill farmers”. The Government announced increased support in March 2011.

• Since 1 July 2010, hill farming has been fully integrated into the environmental stewardship part of the Common Agricultural Policy. This is a new uplands entry level stewardship (Uplands ELS). Basically upland farmers are paid a higher single farm payment. Uplands ELS will reward farmers for maintaining and improving the upland landscape and environment.

• In February 2011, the EFRA Select Committee called for a return to headage payments – support based on the number of livestock instead of a payment based on area.

• The Commission for Rural Communities argued that the uplands contained important public goods and market products, which would not be preserved by the current amount of support for hill farming.

• There is further information on hill farms on the Defra website at

Documents to download

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