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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Great strides in meeting goals

FARMERS in Britain are already providing part of the solution to the growing threat of climate change, with agriculture set to meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction target for 2020.

However, more investment and government support is needed. It comes following publication of the United Nation’s Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which reveals that scientists are 95 per cent certain that human activities are responsible for causing climate change, the warming trend observed over the past 60 years.

The NFU firmly agrees that climate change is a global threat and agriculture is already making great strides in meeting its voluntary environmental goals, through improved resource use efficiency and innovations such as precision farming.

Farmers worldwide have access to sufficient land on which to increase production, but to meet this challenge there is a need for investment in inputs, infrastructure, improved skills and innovations derived from research, to drive rural growth and diversification.

In 2012, we saw what misery extreme weather can wreak on farmers and the food supply chain and how farm policy needs to increase our resilience.

Even this year’s English wheat harvest is set to be one of the smallest in over a decade, showing again that our industry is in the front line of climate-related impacts.

The NFU fully supports the principle of producing more with less – less environmental impact, a reduced carbon footprint for many food products, and reduced input costs through wise resource management.

The principle of sustainable intensification means that farmers can increase agricultural production, nationally and internationally, while staying within Earth’s safe limits.

In 2012, we witnessed the wettest summer in more than a century, which meant some of our farmers had to take drastic steps to reduce stocking levels to deal with a lack of winter fodder.

Any help to identify surplus forage will be useful to any farmers with low supplies.

For that reason the NFU is urging farmers who have seen forage yields hit to take advantage of its Fodder Bank scheme.

The service was launched over five years ago by the NFU and has been effective in both exceptionally wet and dry years. The free online service is designed to help farmers with shortages and surpluses of cattle feed and bedding.

NFU members should log on to www.nfuonline.com/fodderbank for more information.

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