Hilary Benn launched The Future of our Farming pamphlet at the Royal Show earlier this year. This has been written for the farming community and outlines shared aims for, and actions towards, achieving a thriving and environmentally sustainable farming industry.
In his introduction to the pamphlet Hilary Benn addresses the two main global challenges that we face – food security and climate change. “I want British farmers to produce as much food as possible – and this is very important to maintaining our food security.
But how will we feed nine billion people in 40 years time if a damaged environment and changing climate hit yields and increase the risk from disease? The answer is: we will have to produce more food, but we will also have to change the way we do things.”
Hilary Benn stresses that Defra and the farming community need to embrace a new approach – based on co-operation to meet the challenges that lie ahead, with the farming industry and Defra striving to work in partnership with the farming industry to achieve shared aims.
The leaflet provides farmers with information on:
* Regulation – working with the EU and the farming industry to make the regulatory balance effective and proportionate.
* Production, productivity and competitiveness – focusing on improving productivity and the competitiveness of farming businesses.
* The food chain – improving labelling, the role of public procurement, providing a better market for British produce and improving the environmental impact of production and the whole food chain.
* Research and development – continuing to tackle animal diseases, maintain the safety of the food chain and improve productivity with lower inputs and so lower environmental impacts.
* Animal disease – improving our defences and how we respond, including working together to set up the new responsibility-sharing body for animal health.
* Safeguarding the environment – farming in a more sustainable way so that we don’t erode our capacity to produce food in the future and sustainably managing the land – a service the public needs and only farmers can provide.
* Recapturing the environmental benefits of set-aside – focusing on the industry-led voluntary approach, the Campaign for the Farmed Environment.
* Climate change – working to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to minimise the impact of climate change on farming.
* Skills and the next generation – improving skills critical to profitability and attracting young people into farming careers.