This week, the Committee on Climate Change released its latest report making recommendations on how the Government can reach its net zero emissions by 2050 goal.
These included calls for major changes, including more woodlands to be created and a new levy on polluting industries, as well as a reduction in meat production and more low carbon farming.
The NFU's voice was included a wide variety of coverage across national print, broadcast and online media, to highlight the role farmers play in producing food for the nation while safeguarding our countryside.
NFU President Minette Batters responded to the Committee on Climate Change’s report on land use, which recommends a levy on polluting industries, low carbon farming and more woodlands, on BBC Radio 4 Today and highlighted that British farmers are up for the challenge of producing food with less impact but the same amount. Listen from 54 mins.
The NFU picked up coverage in The Daily Mail, BBC News, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian's reports of the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations, with NFU President Minette Batters quoted highlighting that the UK produces some of the most sustainable food in the world, that emissions from UK beef is half the global average and farmers are part of the solution to climate change, as well as warning that plant-based products "do not always necessarily have a lower impact on the environment".
On BBC Farming Today this morning, NFU director of policy Andrew Clark told Anna Hill that reducing the amount of land used for production would be counterproductive as our grassland act as a valuable store of carbon. Listen from 10 mins 30 secs.
NFU member Frank Langrish told Sky News that we should think about where we plant trees, as our agricultural land is essential in producing food for the nation.
In other news
The Times reports on a joint letter sent from Friends of the Earth CE Craig Bennett and NFU President Minette Batters to the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers calling to legislate before trade negotiations open to the US to ensure existing agricultural rules are preserved. The Sun also reports how the commitment from ministers to protect British food standards was missing from the Agriculture Bill, quoting the NFU’s call for a trade and standards commission.
On BBC Farming Today, NFU Sugar board chairman Michael Sly talked to Anna Hill about how the sugar beet harvest has gone this year given the difficult lifting conditions and ban on neonicotinoids. Listen from 2 mins 18 secs.
NFU director of EU exit and international trade Nick Von Westenholz was interviewed live on Channel 4 news and discussed how the Agriculture Bill provides a balance between supporting farmers as food producers while encouraging the protection of the environment and wildlife. NFU member James Cox was also interviewed by ITV News and talked about farmers’ role in improving the environment and how the Bill recognises this. Watch from 15 mins.
In national print, Financial Times reported that the new Agriculture Bill adds regular monitoring of food security by parliament as well as rewards for farmers who work to protect the soil and references the NFU’s lobbying work to make this happen as well as quoting NFU President Minette Batters calling for proper scrutiny on trade negotiations.
The Daily Telegraph quoted NFU President Minette Batters welcoming the Bill and the government’s action on tackling the concerns we raised in the last Parliament, but that it still does not include a provision for parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals.
Good Morning Britain featured reactions to the Agriculture Bill from NFU members Phil Latham and Richard Blackburn who stressed the reliance on subsidies while emphasising that farmers are adaptable to change.
NFU President Minette Batters spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, welcoming the bill’s emphasis on farmers as food producers but maintaining that proper scrutiny on future trade negotiations to protect British food standards must be legislated.
The Guardian, Sky News, and BBC News reported that the new Agriculture Bill will protect the need to protect soil, and will require and implement a requirement for a regular report to MPs outlining supply sources and household expenditure on food, as well as consumer confidence in food safety. NFU President Minette Batters is quoted stressing that we will continue to press the government to introduce a standards commission to oversee and advise on future food trade policy and negotiations.
The Daily Telegraph and Daily Star reports on the reaction to the Channel 4 documentary ‘How to Steal Pigs and Influence People’ which depicted illegal activity on farms. The joint statement from the four farming unions is quoted.
NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts talked to BBC World Service and highlighted that farmers are part of the solution to climate change.
NFU member James Small talked to BBC Points West about how farmers’ lives will change as a result of leaving the EU, highlighting the importance of the Agriculture Bill and securing trade deals that maintain Britain’s high food standards and avoid the import of foods that would be illegal to produce here. Watch from 12 mins.
NFU President Minette Batters is featured in The Times, highlighting that a failure to set a fair baseline for British and foreign agricultural goods could drive UK farms out of business.
NFU President Minette Batters was interviewed on Sky News to say that the government’s commitment to continue the same levels of farm funding for 2020 will help farmers manage risk, but that the main thing for farming is that all food imports have been produced to at least the same standards as are legally required of UK farmers.
Read the NFU's national media coverage on acess to labour here:
Read the NFU's national media coverage on TB here:
Read the NFU's national media coverage on livestock farming here:
Read the NFU's national media coverage on BPS and agri-environment schemes here:
Read the NFU's national media coverage on the climate change report and net zero emissions here:
Read the NFU's national media coverage on food production standards and imports here:
Read the NFU's national media coverage on Brexit developments here:
Read the NFU's national media coverage on the removal of general licenses for best bird species here:
As US President Donald Trump began his state visit to the UK, the NFU made sure both the government and the public were fully aware of the issues at stake regarding any future trade deal the UK agrees with the United States post-Brexit. See the coverage.