21 October 2017

Farmers can only look after environment if they’re profitable, NFU says

The NFU has warned that without profitable farming businesses there won’t be anyone there to look after the environment.

The farming union has said farmers need to keep producing food and remain profitable to maintain Britain’s landscape.

That was the key message from NFU Deputy President Minette Batters at the weekend when she took part in a debate about the future of the countryside for farming and wildlife.

On Saturday (14 October) Mrs Batters was on the panel at the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust Future of Food, Farming and Nature Conference being held at Oxford’s Brookes University.

Leading economist and Government advisor on natural capital, Professor Dieter Helm, chaired the debate. Panellists included farmer Ian Boyd, Ellie Brodie, The Wildlife Trusts’ Senior Policy Manager, and Bill Stow, former senior civil servant in Defra where he led on environmental policy.

Uncertainty and challenges

Minette Batters said in the current climate of political uncertainty, there are many challenges out there for farmers.

“That’s why the NFU continues to call on Government to provide longer-term clarity on future agriculture policy and stability in the short-term,” she said.

“But our vision for the future goes much further than this. It includes measures to boost productivity and competitiveness, achieve fair returns from the supply chain, an ambitious trade deal with the EU and measures to manage volatility.

“Crucially, we deliver for the environment, managing and maintaining 70% of the landscape; planting or restoring 30km of hedgerows, creating 37,000km of grass margins. As farmers we are custodians of the countryside.

“We now have a unique and historic opportunity to influence a policy that could ensure British farming, the nation’s food production and the iconic British countryside thrives, not just survives.”

Credit to: https://www.farminguk.com/News/Farmers-can-only-look-after-environment-if-they-re-profitable-NFU-says_47670.html