Farm­ers not com­pla­cent on ecol­ogy

Yorkshire Post - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

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.

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