This article was originally published on The Times


“His family have been farming in Upper Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales since 1842, but counting flowers and other plants was never previously part of Stuart Hird’s business. Now he has joined a revolutionary trial in which farmers will be paid if they improve the environment.

They can earn up to £9,000 a year extra if their land is an ideal habitat for bees and butterflies and has crumbly, sweet-smelling soil full of worms. They will also be rewarded for making changes that reduce flooding downstream, such as reducing soil compaction caused by intensive grazing.

The National Trust signed contracts with three of its tenant farmers in the Yorkshire Dales this month to take part in the “payments for outcomes” trial, with the first payments to be calculated in December. Assessors will measure the number of plant species in square-metre plots and inspect the soil.

The trust hopes that the trial will influence the government’s plans to replace the EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP) with a new system of “public money for public goods”…”

Read on at: The Times.