Post-Brexit farming vision must be to produce more food from less land, says CLA

28 November 2017

The new President of the CLA will today tell a conference of 500 industry leaders that landowners must prepare for a changing world in which less of their land will be used for traditional farming.

The CLA represents over 30,000 landowners, farmers and rural businesses across England and Wales who together manage more than 10 million acres of rural land.

It says that the nation will need farmers to produce more high quality food, more smartly, using less land so as to dedicate more of the countryside to other uses such as natural resource protection, a landscape for everyone to continue to enjoy, and building appropriate homes.

CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said: “Leaving the EU will be a defining moment for farming. Farmers will not have the luxury of being able to carry on doing the same thing year-in-year-out as they have done before.

“It will soon be time for every landowning farmer to make choices about whether their land is delivering the best income opportunities, whether they need to farm differently, or use the land for other purposes.

“Farming is vital to our future prosperity as a nation. Producing enough high-quality food is our overriding purpose, but we have to be smart. Technology and scientific advances allow us to farm in new ways, to examine closely field by field where our land is and is not productive, to use chemicals more efficiently and manage breeding and welfare better than ever before.”

The CLA today publishes its Redefining Farming report, exploring how landowning farm businesses are adapting for the future.

Tim Breitmeyer added: “Government policy will play a major role in how the farming sector harnesses the opportunities of Brexit. Exiting the Common Agricultural Policy is an opportunity to direct more investment into making farming more productive and profitable. It is also a chance to transform the business opportunities for farmers and landowners to derive a fair income for vital work that benefits the public, from addressing climate change and encouraging biodiversity to managing the landscape.”

Tim Breitmeyer is speaking today at the second annual CLA Rural Business Conference in Westminster. The event will also hear from Secretary of State Michael Gove, Environmentalist Sir Tim Smit and a range of industry leaders from across farming.