Farming Futures

Farming Futures

Developing a new approach to agri-environment delivery

Dartmoor Farming Futures (DFF) is an experimental pilot project aimed at developing a new approach to the management of the public and environmental benefits associated with Dartmoor moorland that;

  • Offers farmers and landowners more responsibility for the design and delivery of agri-environment schemes;
  • Focuses on the complete range of public benefits (ecosystem services) that are associated with upland farming (from food production to carbon sequestration) and identifies priorities for particular spatial areas; and
  • Facilitates a collaborative approach to agreeing the outcomes sought, delivering the management required and assisting with the monitoring process.

The initiative was developed by Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA), The Duchy of Cornwall and Dartmoor Commoners Council, with support from Natural England (NE), Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and South West Water (SWW).

DFF is a bottom up approach to agri-environment scheme design, with its central theme being farmer engagement in the design, delivery and monitoring of environmental outcomes, the trial is focused on two areas of common land; (i) Haytor and Bagtor Commons; and (ii) The Forest of Dartmoor.

Farming Futures Films

Find more information to the background of DFF and Commoner involvement with the pilot in these films

Watch the films

DFF links into and complements the Dartmoor Vision, a shared vision developed with the landowners and users which sets out what the moorland will look like in 2030, as part of the work on DFF the original Dartmoor Vision was updated to include valued access, stored carbon and water resources. The Vision was used by farmers involved in the initial design stage of DFF to help design the outcomes based on public goods found on their own individual commons.

The DFF pilot has been subject to  a number of evaluations. The initial evaluation undertaken by Cumulus Consultants in 2013 examined the design phase of DFF and outlines the impacts of the trial at an early stage. The second evaluation, undertaken in 2016, in the fourth year of the DFF trial investigates the longitudinal impacts of DFF, focusing on the impact of the scheme on farmer behaviours, perceptions and farm businesses. The report was published in March 2017. The third evaluation was completed in the final year of the scheme during 2021, and identifies the key learning from both DFF and the Moorland Vision to help inform the future Defra Environmental Land Management Schemes.

Links to the reports can be found below: