Nature Friendly Farming Network have launched their latest report demonstrating the potential for farming systems that are sustainable both for farming and the environment.
The report shows the potential for a sustainable farming system by sharing stories of farmers across the UK, who can demonstrate the positive impact that nature friendly farming is already having on wildlife and biodiversity, as well as helping to mitigate climate change impacts.
Farmers are part of the solution to the climate and biodiversity crisis
Livestock farmer in mid-Wales, Sorcha Lewis says in the report: 'Nature friendly farming is the direction we should be moving in, to restore ecosystems and safeguard the landscape for future generations. In order to rear good quality food and have a positive effect on our environment, farmers must harness the potential of nature.'
Nature Friendly Farming Network are clear that farmers are part of the solution to climate change and are in the best position to deal with its consequences. Sorcha says: 'Farmers are perfectly positioned to combat climate change. Farming needs to include protecting soils, carbon storage, water sequestration, water protection, renewable energy and planting trees, as well as educating the public on the positive impacts of farming systems and reconnecting people with the landscape.'
Brexit and future farming policy
Mixed farmer in North Wales, Gethin Owen says: 'Brexit is a threat, as agricultural products from parts of the world where the cost of production is lower and the environmental cost is higher could flood the UK. This would drag down prices and create a race to the bottom.’
Gethin is clear that there is an alternative way, which aligns with the Eating Better: roadmap: 'It could be an opportunity to create a UK agricultural policy that uses public money to reward nature friendly farming.'
'Historically, farming policy has encouraged production at all costs and any funding for delivering environmental benefits has been miniscule in comparison. Policy has favoured the large, established farmer and discouraged the younger generation who want to do things differently.'
'Giving money to farmers just because they farm needs to stop. Future schemes need to be outcome-based, rewarding farmers for enhancing biodiversity, improving water and air quality and capturing carbon.'
The report concludes that we need to scale up the nature friendly farming movement to tackle the climate emergency and ensure long-term food security. There are five asks:
Farmers – join the movement of nature friendly farmers
Funders/investors – support the movement of nature friendly farmers
UK Government – drive policy and deliver on public goods
NGOs – increase the levels of support and advice for nature friendly farmers
Citizens – support local sustainably grown food and sign up to the NFFN to support farming with nature
To read the full report, click here.