Did you hear Farming Today on Radio 4 this morning? EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloş was interviewed at the NFU's Annual Conference. The opening interview question was "which is the most important role of farming - food production or environmental protection?". It's a question that we hear many times, in one form or another.
The Commissioner was quick to point out that it’s wrong to set the two in competition, and that we need environmental protection to ensure the long term competitiveness of our agriculture. Environmental protection can be successfully integrated into food production, e.g. concentrating on enhancing biodiversity in areas of lower production value. It's all about making the right choices. (We can all do with a little help making choices on occasions - check out our website for advice on choices to help wildlife, case studies, contact details for your local Farmland Advisor and more).
A great example of this in practice is the Thorney Farmland Bird Friendly Zone, an exciting landscape scale project involving 14 neighbouring farmers in Cambridgeshire. In a area considered to be some of the most productive land in Europe, farmers are stepping up for nature together to maximise environmental benefits, whilst minimising impacts on production, and not affecting income.
It was great to see Farmers Weekly report on this exciting project today , saying it will “take ELS and HLS stewardship outcomes to new measures without hurting income”. Now that is the right answer to a long term future for wildlife, for farmers, for all.
Think farmers love you Heather,literally of course all in the best possible taste.
Nice that Farmers Weekly did such a positive article and that and what farmers such as those at Thorney are doing makes me sure that if the NFU make less positive attitude it does not matter much as individual farmers are contributing by combining with the RSPB to improve birds lot.
Thanks Sooty, I really appreciate your feedback. (And I love the nod to Kenney Everett too - there was a man way ahead of his time!)