In 2007 and supported by HRH, the Prince of Wales, the Dartmoor Farmers Association was formed with the idea that we take a more holistic approach to finding a market for our unique product from our unique place. Along with the Dartmoor Partnership (the old Tourist information board) and the Dartmoor National Park Authority we have been working towards a sustainable future for both farming and tourism.
For us it is easy – the cattle and sheep create the landscape that brings the tourists to the area; the local businesses support the farmers by creating a market for their products. After all Dartmoor and its farmers co- exist to maintain this beautiful National Park and one is essential to the other.
Our herds and flocks of Native breed cattle and sheep graze this diverse and wild landscape enjoying the benefits of living unbound during the Spring, Summer and Autumn months. The superior texture and flavour of the meat is a result of the grass-fed, wide ranging farming process on the moor. Studies, including that by Professor Henry Buller, Department of Geography, University of Exeter, have proven that livestock fed on a natural bio-diverse grass diet will result in a leaner meat that is higher in nutritional value, “good” fats and antioxidants. This compares to intensively farmed animals fed on grain where the emphasis is on weight gain which sacrifices meat quality, flavour and nutritional value.
Dartmoor Farmers Association Collective Aspirations
- Members should seek to share their skills and knowledge with future generations of farmers in order to deliver a sustainable farming future.
- Stock should travel the minimum number of miles to be slaughtered, ideally within the Dartmoor National Park area.
- Distribution should take into consideration the number of food miles generated an environmental impact of distribution and packaging.
- Farmers should aspire to develop renewable localised energy generation and shared disposal of waste.
Dartmoor Farmers Association Production Criteria
- Members must have the majority of their farm within the Dartmoor National Park.
- Livestock must be owned by a DFA member from birth to slaughter.
- The livestock must be born, raised and finished on DFA member holdings.
- Livestock will be reared using traditional extensive farming methods of husbandry:- Beef to be singled suckled, no entire males, grass based diet.
- Members must only supply Native breeds of cattle and sheep, crossed or pure excluding dairy derivatives.
- All members must belong to a nationally recognised farm assurance scheme.
- All members must be a member of a nationally recognised Environmental Stewardship Scheme and aspire to higher level accreditation.
- Membership of the Dartmoor Farmers Association is by invitation only.