The NFU has highlighted the work that farmers do to protect and maintain the iconic British countryside, and outlined its vision for their role in delivering environmental benefits in future.
In response to the RSPB's 2019 State of Nature report, NFU President Minette Batters said:
“Farming has already embarked on a long journey of protecting and maintaining the iconic British countryside. Huge amounts of work have been carried out to enhance our landscapes, benefit soil and water, and encourage wildlife and farmland birds. This year, 140 different species of birds were recorded on farms during the Big Farmland Bird Count.
“One of the biggest issues the report identifies is climate change. I’m pleased that farming is showing leadership in tackling this huge challenge we all face. We’ve set an ambitious target to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 through improving land management and changing land use to capture more carbon and planting more trees and hedges. Reducing our emissions and counterbalancing them through improvements in productivity and renewable energy production will also play an important role.
“Over the next 30 years, farmers will need to produce more food to meet the demands of a growing population, using less land, less water and fewer agricultural inputs. We cannot simply offshore our environmental footprint elsewhere in the world where standards fall below our own. As the NFU’s own environment report recognises, farmers have a huge role in meeting these environmental challenges, alongside providing safe, traceable and affordable food for the nation.
“We can and want to play our part, but this cannot happen in isolation. We need a domestic agricultural policy that allows British farming to thrive after the UK leaves the EU with policies that enable farmers to embrace accessible environmental schemes that provide infrastructure projects, new technologies and innovative tools so farm businesses can continue to be productive and profitable while continuing to deliver the environmental benefits we all want to see.”
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