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Hill Farming (Hardcover)
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Hill Farming (Hardcover)
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Hill farming is extensive farming in upland areas, primarily
rearing sheep, although historically cattle were often reared
extensively in upland areas. Hill farming is a type of agricultural
practice in the UK in upland regions. In England, hill farms are
located mainly in the North and South-Western regions, as well as a
few areas bordering Wales. The Scottish highlands are another home
for many hill farms. Sheep farms and mixed sheep and cattle farms
constitute approximately 55% of the agricultural land in Scotland.
These areas have a harsh climate, short growing seasons, relatively
poor quality of soil and long winters. Therefore, these areas are
considered to be disadvantaged and the animals raised there are
generally less productive and farmers will often send them down to
the lowlands to be fattened up. Upland areas are not traditionally
favorable for agricultural practices. Sustainable farming systems
in upland areas are one of the greatest challenges facing
agriculture, since a balance is sought between economic development
and environmental protection in those areas. Uplands are
particularly sensitive to agricultural encroachments. Driven by
growing food demand to feed increasing populations and low farm
income in many uplands, however, there is a tendency to use more
productive, intensive farming methods in place of traditional
subsistence farming characterized by poor crop yields and low farm
productivity. Intensive farming methods suitable for lowlands can
be disastrous when used on uplands without proven technologies and
experience, promoting deforestation and soil erosion and reducing
land productivity. The problem of sustainable upland agriculture is
not a technical one as such but it is more institutional, involving
limited R&D investment in upland farming research,
sociopolitical neglect of marginalized upland societies, low
capacity of communities, and inappropriate development planning. In
recent years, there have been some successful examples of
sustainable upland farming. Farmers need cash crops as well as food
crops, in systems which maintain soil productivity. Where transport
networks are poor, low-volume high-value cash crops with a long
storage life are important. Many farming households now earn a
living from direct marketing of specialty crops and animals,
accommodation, or recreation and leisure, as well as farming.
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