Farming News - British farmers mark step forward in climate action ahead of COP26

British farmers mark step forward in climate action ahead of COP26

Farmers across the country are demonstrating their progress and commitment towards a net zero future for British food production and how they are playing their part in climate mitigation worldwide.

Investing in new technologies, reducing energy consumption from fossil fuels, increasing soil health, and planting and managing trees, woodland and hedgerows are some of the actions being taken right now by farmers who are working towards net zero agriculture in Britain, and with greater government support they can accelerate this progress.

COP26: Help us show that UK farmers are serious about net zero

In a new report by the NFU, farmers such as Jessica Langton from Derbyshire and Richard Bramley from Yorkshire showcase how they are adapting their businesses to reduce agricultural emissions, capture and store more carbon on farmland and produce more renewable energy, all while providing climate-friendly, nutritious and affordable food for people at home and abroad.

The report, launched on the eve of COP26, comes two years after the NFU first announced its ambition for British agriculture to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, and sets out what further government, industry and supply chain action is needed to aid farming’s transition to net zero.

NFU President Minette Batters said: “Food is one of the most important aspects of the climate discussion and as an industry we have a huge part to play in tackling the climate crisis. That is why two years ago I set a target for the British farming industry to become net zero by 2040.

“We have always known this would not be an easy task and that government support would be crucial, but it has been incredible to see the innovative and diverse range of measures farmers have employed to make their businesses more sustainable, all while continuing to produce the nation’s food.

“However, we still have a long way to go if we are to realise our net zero aspiration. The commitment is there – what we now need are a portfolio of policies to support widespread action, whether it’s upgrading rural infrastructure to boost productivity, the further development of farm-level greenhouse gas calculators or investment in methods to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

“It’s also vital that the government’s agenda works in harmony with its domestic and trade policies. Reducing our impact on the climate should not mean reducing our capacity to feed the country with high quality, affordable home-grown food – food we know the British public want to see more of on shop shelves.

“In Britain we have a clear ambition to build on our reputation as world leaders in climate-friendly food production, and to back it up with meaningful action. This makes it even more pressing for the government to get behind British farming rather than becoming more reliant on other countries for our food.”