The Foundation for Common Land developed the Hill Farming Training project to fill a gap identified by a number of hill farmers, who saw that many of the staff in organisations such as National Park Authorities and Natural England had limited understanding of how hill farming works. This has led to misunderstandings and poorer working relationships between farmers and these conservation professionals. The project also sought to train those working at a more senior level in the design and development of agri-environment schemes that form part of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The CCRI was commissioned to evaluate the pilot courses in Cumbria, which took place between October 2012 and July 2013. The evaluation aimed to analyse participant and farmer trainer experiences, and identify what influence, if any, the learning from these courses had on the process of negotiating agri-environment agreements, and policy development.

The pilot was funded principally by The Prince’s Countryside Fund, whilst additional funding was provided through Fells and Dales RDPE LEADER for Cumbria, and the Duchy of Cornwall for Dartmoor respectively.

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This project and CCRI’s research was reported in the Cumbria Crack on 21 August.