Combinable Crops Board priorities – land use

04 July 2024

Peter Gadd

Peter Gadd

NFU Combinable Crops Board member, regional chair (Midlands)

Peter Gadd and his flooded farm

NFU Combinable Crops Board member and midlands farmer Peter Gadd explores the NFU Combinable Crops Board’s second priority, land use, and explains how the board is working to address some of the key challenges facing the increasing demands on agricultural land.

Throughout my farming career I have witnessed the landscape of farming and land use policy change continually evolving in line with the ever-growing demand for food production, environmental responsibility, and energy production which has shaped the patchwork of our British countryside.

However, today’s farmers are facing a very different chapter, with increased input costs and market volatility breeding uncertainty, compounded by the cumulative effects from the loss of direct payments over the past four years and the slow transition to ELMs (Environmental Land Management schemes).

Fresh opportunity

Like many of you reading this, I have also watched the progressive evolution of farm support since our departure from the EU with hesitant anticipation.

The development of new policy and government ambitions represents fresh opportunity to enhance the tools available for agricultural businesses to build resilience, sustainability and environmental benefit for the future.

Across the NFU Combinable Crops Board, we have asked ourselves what are these tools?

It is imperative that we create and employ options that promote resilience against such extreme weather.

NFU Combinable Crops Board member Peter Gadd

Next government must look at budget

As one of our six board priorities, land use represents a range of critical components for our sector, covering biodiversity net gain, water quality and net zero.

As a board we are working closely with NFU staff and Defra to understand the potential for the further development of existing policies and delivery of future SFI standards that support greater resilience across the sector.

When considering the aftermath of over six months worth of continuous rain, resulting in farmers across the country either having to re-drill fields or looking at diminished prospects for harvest 2024, it is imperative that we create and employ options that promote resilience against such extreme weather.

It is vital that the next government looks at the agricultural budget to ensure the UK farming sector is resilient and thriving so our farmers and growers can continue doing what they do best, contributing to our national food security through sustainable food production, alongside protecting and enhancing our agricultural environment.

Development of ELMs

The NFU has been at the coalface during the development of ELMs.

Throughout this process, a fundamental ambition and absolute necessity lobbied for by the NFU has been that government policies relating to land use are designed to be not only the right tools for the job, but also empower effective decision making, support food, fibre and energy production and are delivered in a timely manner both practically and financially at the farm gate.

As a board, we will continue to strive towards this ambition by working to identify and promote key opportunities as part of this work.

Ask us a question about this page

Once you have submitted your query someone from NFU CallFirst will contact you. If needed, your query will then be passed to the appropriate NFU policy team.

You have 0 characters remaining.

By completing the form with your details on this page, you are agreeing to have this information sent to the NFU for the purposes of contacting you regarding your enquiry. Please take time to read the NFU’s Privacy Policy if you require further information.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.