October 24, 2020

Farming Network warns Welsh Farmers to align practices with climate-friendly future or face collapse

A new report by the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) reveals that farm businesses will go bust if policy doesn’t help farmers better balance food production with the natural environment.

The report draws on evidence from over 40 UK farms and shows that business as usual cannot continue if farms want to survive. Instead, farming with nature is critical to ensure long-term resilience and financial viability for farmers, whilst also helping to tackle the wildlife and climate crises.

Roger Thomas, Chair of the Wales Environmental link says:

The NFFN’s Nature Means Business report highlights that nature and farming are inextricably linked. Nature friendly farming not only helps to tackle the climate and ecological emergencies, but it also makes good business sense. It’s vital that Governments in Wales and across the UK develop future agriculture policies that facilitates and fully reward farmers for the work they do in maintaining and enhancing nature and the environment.

Gethin Owen at Nant yr Efail Farm in North Wales has been implementing nature-friendly practices for several years.

“Nature-friendly farming has a positive impact on the lives of animals as well as farmers. We have saved £3,000 a year from adopting nature friendly practices”.

Gethin, along with the NFFN are calling for governments to ensure agricultural policy enables farmers to farm with nature.

 “Farmers being paid public money just for owning land is unacceptable and has been one of the most damaging aspects of agriculture policy during the last 50 years. Governments need to take action now and ensure farmers stop using unsustainable and damaging methods”.

“We believe that the Agriculture Bill and associated funding mechanisms must help farmers to produce safe, healthy food at the same time as helping our soil, landscapes, rivers and wildlife to recover and flourish”.

“We are calling for a new food system for Wales to better join up food and farming policy; one that ensures farmers earn a fair return whilst ensuring food is healthy, affordable and sustainably produced”.

The new research by the NFFN also reveals that the majority of the UK and Welsh public want public money to support farmers and land managers to deliver healthy and sustainable food.

  • Seven in ten people (70%) do not want public money to reward ‘business as usual’ farming approaches or allow damaging farm practices to continue.
  • Almost eight in ten people (79%) are calling for food and environmental standards to be put into law, to protect long-term food security.
  • Over three quarters (76%) are urging their MP to support farmers that farm with nature.

The report is endorsed by leading environmental organisations including the Wildlife Trusts, RSPB, Butterfly Conservation Trust and Buglife.