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"We need to re-think the way we farm and the way we produce food" writes NFFN Scotland steering group

Martin Kennedy (NFU Scotland President) recently took to social media to claim environmental delivery is incompatible with food production, and NFFN Scotland responded. The Farmers Guardian published the below letter signed by NFFN’s Scotland steering group.

Dear Mr Kennedy,

We write to take issue with the views you expressed recently, in very intemperate terms, on the NFUS Facebook page. We wonder how you feel you can square them with the upcoming launch of the ABCC Network, of which NFUS is a founding partner? This is the time for moral and pragmatic leadership, not political posturing. The climate crisis is terrifying and the biodiversity crisis is very real; suggesting otherwise is likely to cause rancour and confrontation at a time when we should all be pulling together.

We are commercial farmers and crofters committed to our businesses, food production and to working with nature to achieve these objectives. We are guided by our shared, collective experiences and the evidence delivered by scientists to address and manage the stark unprecedented realities of the climate and biodiversity crises. It is not a question of “may ” for biodiversity loss. It is very real and is directly affecting our industry both above and below ground.

This is not the time to set our industry against environmental NGO’s or against “fancy” scientists, as you describe them. We need them every bit as much as they need us. It is essential that we set vested interests aside and converge our farming and land management approaches to the common cause of climate and biodiversity loss mitigation, whilst fulfilling our responsibility as food producers.

As farmers, we have considerable agency to make significant and meaningful contributions for the good of humanity and our planet for the long term. We can only do that by converging our strengths, guided by good science, which is readily available and grows clearer by the day. Farming should accept and deliver on a multiplicity of fronts, which includes exemplary food and biodiversity outputs; not to the lowest common denominator. “Business as usual” is not giving us the solution. We need to re-think the way we farm and the way we produce food.

We have sent a copy of this letter to the editors of the Scottish Farmer, Farmers Weekly and the Farmers Guardian.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Clarke (Chair NFFN Scotland)

Phil Knott (vice-Chair NFFN Scotland)

Aylwin Pillai

Becci Barr

Nikki Yoxall

Johnnie Balfour

Patrick Laurie

Denise Walton

(NFFN Scottish Steering Group)