Farmers not complacent on ecology
From: Adam Bedford. Regional Director NFU, Agriculture House, Tadcaster Road, York.
I WAS very disappointed to read the article entitled ‘Some food for thought’ (The Yorkshire Post, December 2).
The article sadly did not live up to its headline, failing to objectively explore what is an extremely complex issue and inferring that comments by farmer Andrew Loftus were motivated by self-interest.
Nothing could be further from the truth, with 91 per cent of UK households still enjoying red meat as part of a balanced diet and an army of arable, fruit, vegetable and salad producers supplying an abundant larder of ingredients for those who choose not to eat meat.
The farming industry has shown itself to be far from complacent about its environmental performance and carbon footprint, pledging to achieve net zero a full decade ahead of government targets.
Emissions from UK livestock are estimated to be around five per cent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions – significantly lower than the estimated EU-wide figure of 9.1 per cent.
This is due in part to the UK’s efficient production systems. But more work is under way exploring, for example, how natural feed additives and further improvements in cattle and sheep health could reduce emission levels still further.
It is not self-interest driving farming’s plea for a more balanced approach to this debate but rather the need to recognise the value of farmed livestock as part of the solution to the climate challenges we face.
Our livestock help us produce high-quality food from marginal, rocky land; provide us with wool (a 100 per cent natural renewable fibre) and help maintain and enhance the soil we use to grow crops. Please let’s take a more balanced approach.