UK agriculture is at a critical juncture with decisions being made about the industry now which will shape its future for years to come.
At the heart of the political change facing food producers is a move to more ‘climate friendly’ and ‘low carbon’ farming methods. And with a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2040, a charge led by the NFU, the industry is already making headway, but as the results of our survey (p6-7) show, there is still a long way to go. While some change will require investment, there are rewards in terms of increasing business efficiencies and productivity and therefore boosting the bottom line. NFU deputy president and Hertfordshire farmer Stuart Roberts said: “For me, it is about targeting that sweet spot which has a commercial financial positive on farming. "Improving productivity on-farm is something farmers have been doing for generations, but without realising they are contributing towards net zero.”
Prof Frank Mitloehner, department of animal science, University of California, who specialises in measurement and mitigation of airborne pollutants from livestock production, said arming farmers with the facts was crucial. Speaking on the latest Over the Farm Gate podcast, he said: “Agriculture is both a carbon source and a carbon sink. We could be moving agriculture into a direction of climate neutrality, where practices do not in a negative way affect climate. “We do not need a PR campaign, we just need facts, and farmers need to speak up. “Set reduction goals and communicate with the public that you are pledging further reductions and work aggressively on getting these done.”