Why nature means business; How Food & farming can deliver a green recovery in Northern Ireland
How we farm is vital to nature’s recovery, and our own. In the Nature Friendly Farming Network’s recent agriculture webinars in partnership with RSPBNI, a host of industry experts demonstrated how we can reform our food and farming system to benefit both people and the planet. For anyone who missed the event, this is what you need to know.
- Sustainable land management is vital for more than just food production.
Food, farming and the environment have found themselves firmly in the spotlight due to the Covid-19 crisis. We don’t have to look too far back to remember the empty supermarket shelves as the initial panic from the pandemic impacted our food supply chains. Thoughts of food security and building greater resilience in our food and farming systems have subsequently come to the forefront of our minds. Similarly, lockdown demonstrated the importance of the environment to our health, wellbeing and future prosperity. Many of us found solace in being able to engage with nature as other aspects of our lives ground to a standstill. This experience has highlighted a growing appetite for change, with widespread calls for a green recovery as we continue to emerge from the pandemic.
- Future farming and land use policies are key to enabling a green recovery
Farming and land management has a vital role to play in the restoration of nature, storing and sequestering carbon, providing cleaner water, air and soil health all vital services that we desperately need. But previous policies have failed to support farming to deliver these ambitions and have been a contributing factor in widespread environmental decline. New policies are needed to help deliver a transition towards more sustainable nature friendly farming, to allow farmers to farm with nature rather than against it.
- An investment in nature friendly farming is an essential investment for our future
Our long-term food security and wider prosperity is dependent upon a thriving natural environment and stable climate. Over recent years, more intensive agriculture has led to a decline in the health of our soil, air and water quality, and variety of plant and animal life. Our expert panellists, including members Simon Best and Charlie Cole of the NFFN Northern Ireland Steering Group, demonstrated how long-term investment, alongside the right policies to reward sustainable farming practises, can provide solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing us today; all whilst delivering a more profitable future for the farming sector. Click to watch the webinar highlights now!
- Farming with nature in mind makes good business sense
Speakers highlighted how incorporating the needs of nature into farm business practises can benefit a farm’s bottom line in tandem with improving the environment. For example, Chris Clark author of the recent Less is More Report and Chair of the Network in England spoke of how reducing a farm’s output so that it matches the natural carrying capacity of the land can help significantly reduce business costs at the same time as improving the condition of the natural assets on which all farm businesses depend. Matt Rayment an agricultural economist spoke of how future support schemes can help incentivise good practise and adequately pay farmers for their role in delivering a green recovery. Click here to watch the webinar highlights.
As the Assembly returns in the autumn these are the messages we will be championing as we move towards the development of bespoke agriculture and land use policies in Northern Ireland. Such policies must help deliver Nature Friendly Farming across the country.