Agriculture in South Lakeland
As you would expect form a rural district, agriculture forms a sizeable proportion of the South Lakeland economy, with dairy and livestock rearing for food consumption forming the majority of farming activity. Farming supports and, in turn, is supported by, the wider business community in South Lakeland: the beautiful natural landscape we enjoy is owed in no small part to the work of generations of farmers and the fine animals providing produce directly to the food and hospitality sector as well as being the inspiration for artists and innovative giftware.
South Lakeland currently has two vibrant livestock markets with one located close to junction 36, Crooklands and one in Ulverston. The Crooklands site is a new purpose-built facility known as the 'Agricultural Quarter'. The Agricultural Quarter accommodates state of the art office facilities for land agency, surveying, legal, accountancy and other specialist disciplines as well as some of the region's leading machinery and food merchants.'
The farms of South Lakeland are also embracing diversification and becoming visitor attractions and activity centres in their own right. You can find everything from paint-balling to quad-biking on agricultural land. Ironically, one of the few crop producers in the area, Raines Hall Farm, utilises its annual maize crop for one of the more original attractions.
Award-winning farm shops such as Low Sizergh Barn are taking advantage of the increasing interest in the provenance of local food and have become destinations for families and 'foodies' alike, with traditional farmers' markets remaining a vibrant element of life in South Lakeland.
The future of farming in the area is also in safe, capable and enthusiastic hands as each new generation shows a strong desire to continue working in the industry, with Young Farmers continuing to play an active role in their communities. At present, the majority of young persons wishing to study for higher education qualifications in agriculture attend either Newton Rigg College in Penrith or Myerscough College in Preston.
A number of traditional, well attended agricultural shows are held within the South Lakeland region each year, including:
- The Westmorland County Show
- Country Fest
- Coniston Country Fair
- Hawkshead Show
- Rydal Show and Sheepdog Trials
- Cartmel Agricultural Show
- Lakeland Country Fair
- North Lonsdale Show
- The Lunesdale Show
Key points in summary:
- A region with a proud agricultural heritage which continues to this day
- High quality livestock production which also supports the hospitality sector
- Willingness to diversify offering to support core farming activities
- Strong farming community, reinforced with annual shows and fairs