Speaking on an Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) panel in Parliament, he said that farmers are ready to play their part in minimising climate change by striving to achieve net zero emissions, reducing agricultural emissions and initiating negative emissions.
The panel discussion took place following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which outlined the potential impacts on global warming and stressed that the rise in global temperature must be limited to 1.5C.
Commenting on the event Mr Smith said:
“With the extreme weather we have experienced this year, the release of the IPCC report and the Agriculture Bill going through its second reading in Parliament, it is more important than ever that these discussions on climate change and net zero take place.
“If government does set a target of net zero then a joined-up approach is absolutely essential, and will need to involve farmers and landowners in the discussion and work with them to make it happen.
“We need to start making changes now and for farming it’s all about our approach to using land. Changes shouldn’t decrease UK food production but we need to take responsibility for our part in a global move to net zero, and farmers are more than ready to take on this challenge.
“There is also interesting research being undertaken to better understand the genetics of low-methane emitting animals, and the NFU is developing proposals for a new Livestock Productivity Scheme which will help deliver significant greenhouse gas reductions.”
Other speakers included Professor Jim Skea from the IPCC, Baroness Brown from the Committee on Climate Change and chair of the Adaptation Sub-Committee and Ann Jones from the National Federation of Women's Institutes.