With the concept of ‘green recovery’ gaining global momentum and a monumental policy shift towards all things net-zero, CLA Midlands Surveyor John Greenshields asks how custodians of the land, in a post-Brexit Covid world, balance the need for adaptation with the need to operate a profitable business?
This can feel like an increasingly difficult task, when farmers are caught up in the day to day running of the business combined with the absence of any clear Government guidance and the potential for changes in emphasis, as we move towards the UN’s Climate Change Conference COP26, which the UK will be hosting later this year.
The public consensus appears to be that agriculture should become more extensive, a perception that is being reflected in the Government’s general direction of travel.
That being said, there is a school of thought that agricultural intensification is the way to go, so we can have sustainable food production and businesses that can set land aside for nature.
While neither way is necessarily right or wrong, depending upon the facts of the case, the individual decision by a farmer may have an impact on rural sustainability as farms play an important part of the local economy, land management and increasingly energy markets.
As the nation looks to increase its use of renewable energy sources, we will require increasing amounts land. It is terribly difficult for farmers at present to make decisions and potentially capital intensive investments in their system when the current discussions about agriculture, nature and sustainability are in the most abstract terms possible.
The individual decision by a farmer may have an impact on rural sustainability as farms play an important part of the local economy, land management and increasingly energy markets.
With so much uncertainty how can farmers improve the sustainability of their farming business today whilst improving as many natural indicators on their land as possible?
From what we have been seeing, during this time of uncertainty, there are a range of options or combination thereof. From diversification of the rural business to provide another source of commercial income such as glamping or office space to the focus on reducing farm costs and rewilding.
Provided the changes can add to the resilience of your business and are of interest to you, there can then create secondary benefits to the environment they should be considered.
There are many options to consider, and remember that you can talk these through with the CLA, who offer members free and provide independent advice for member about, before embarking on major decisions.