UK's next generation of farmers unite in climate change ambition

UK Next Generation Forum workshop, NFU HQ, 23 September 2019

Next generation forum members from the UK’s four farming unions came together at NFU HQ in Stoneleigh this week to discuss how they can work together towards a lower carbon future.

The workshop, which followed the publication of the NFU's Achieving Net Zero report earlier this month, considered what the industry’s young farmers can do, what opportunities may arise in the future and what barriers will need to be overcome.

NFU Next Generation forum chairman Simon Gadd (pictured above) said:

“Climate change is arguably one of the greatest challenges of our time and as the future of the industry we need to take it upon ourselves to start our journey towards net zero now.

“There are plenty of things we can do in the short-term to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions; precision farming, improving feed efficiency, better waste management and improving soil structure are just a few. There are also opportunities to increase carbon storage and renewable energy on farms.

“There will also be plenty of challenges, and working in partnership with the government will be key to overcoming these. For example, ensuring rural areas have full connectivity and broadband access will enable farm businesses to improve productivity, one of the pillars of the NFU’s net zero aspiration. And it’s not just government, retailers and processors have a real role to play in reducing waste across the supply chain.

“The NFU’s report is a starting block for the net zero conversation to happen. The measures we take may be different from farm to farm, but by coming together we can share ideas and better understand how we can collectively step up to deliver climate-friendly food for the public.”

Who attended the event?

Representatives of next generation forums from the NFU, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland and Ulster Farmers’ Union were joined by members of various sector development programmes, including the NFU's Poultry Industry Programme, the Cereals Development Programme and recently launched Student and Young Farmer Ambassador programme.