Hill farming in Shropshire and Herefordshire could rapidly decline if a long-term subsidy scheme is not finalised by the Government, farmers have warned.
Elwyn Maddy, chairman of the West Midlands Less Favoured Areas Forum, said the landscape of some of the region's finest upland areas, such as the Shropshire hills, the Marches and Herefordshire, could change if farmers opted out of the industry.
Mr Maddy is urging hill farmers from the two counties to attend a meeting next week to discuss payment reforms under the Common Agricultural Policy.
The NFU is in negotiations with the Government to determine a budget for the Hill Farmer Allowance but Mr Maddy fears the figure is currently too low for farmers to be able to survive.
He said: "We are lobbying the Government to increase the budget. My main concern is for suckler cows in the uplands. Without some scheme to maintain those herds they will disappear.
"It isn't all about production. There is an environmental focus and if livestock is destroyed and no longer grazes on the uplands what are you left with?
"There is a landscape which is going to be lost if we are not careful.
"I firmly believe the current HFA budget will fail to deliver the kind of scheme the uplands requires for a sustainable future.
"If we miss the opportunity to ensure a medium to longterm scheme that can deliver sustainability to the uplands by 2007, then I fear we could see a rapid decline of farming and its associated management of habitat and landscape, as well as seeing the loss of some first class stockmanship, core rural skills, and food production for ever."
The meeting will be held at the Salwey Arms, Woofferton, near Ludlow, at 8pm on March 16 and is open to all farmers affected in the uplands.