Climate change, not the current political turmoil, is what will shape UK agriculture for the next generation and the industry must start to respond to the challenge now.
Speaking to Farmers Guardian at the James Hutton Institute’s Dundee site, chief executive of the research body, Prof Colin Campbell, says changing weather patterns and rising temperatures should focus the minds of society as a whole.
He also suggests consumers have to make choices at a societal level about the kind of food system they want and, therefore, how that shapes agricultural systems in future. And he believes the use of phrases such as ‘climate emergency’ are not scaremongering, but rather an acknowledgement the changing climate has now reached crisis point.
He says: “Climate change is the biggest problem facing agriculture, not Brexit. Farmers are now facing drought or flood at the beginning, middle and end of the year, and that variability of the weather is the biggest challenge for farming in the future. There are lots of things we can do to help adapt to that and some are really simple.
“If you take water, flood and drought, there is a lot of talk about how farmers can sequester more carbon into the soil, and they absolutely can, but at the same time getting more carbon and organic matter into soil can help. It is a win-win.