The latest survey results released today by Farming Futures find that more farmers are taking on-farm action to mitigate climate change.
Farming Futures – a communications collaboration between the NFU, CLA, ARF, AIC, Forum for the Future and Defra, has been monitoring farmer’s attitudes towards climate change since December 2006, as well as working to raise awareness of climate change, and stimulate on-farm action.
The most recent survey had some interesting findings, including some good news for climate change awareness:· 81 per cent of farmers believe the world’s climate is changing· 74 per cent are taking on farm action to mitigate climate change· 22 per cent want to measure on farm emissions.
However, the survey also notes some worrying trends:· Fewer than 2 per cent of farmers surveyed anticipate pests and diseases being a threat in the future· Farmers believe climate change presents more threats than opportunities.
Although climate change presents opportunities for farmers and land managers – and 20 per cent of those surveyed cite new crop opportunities as a climate change benefit; climate change also presents risks.
In 2007 farmers have faced serious challenges ranging from a dry spring, new diseases and summer floods, highlighting the need to be aware of and manage these risks. By recognising their responsibilities and taking action now, farmers and land managers can reduce risk and take advantage of new business opportunities presented by climate change.
Farmers are urged to use the www.farmingfutures.org.uk website resources to find out how they can be part of the solution to climate change and to speak with their farm advisers, agronomists and animal nutritionists for technical advice and support.
Hilary Benn, Secretary of State said: “It is really encouraging to see from the Farming Futures survey that awareness of climate change among farmers is growing. I look forward to now seeing the industry go further in recognising its responsibilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and in turning awareness into practical action on the ground.”
Peter Kendall, NFU President said: “There is much at stake in the face of increasing, unpredictable weather and the effect climate change is having on the environment across the world. This will impact on global markets, as we have already seen. As farmers we can not afford not to rise to the challenges this presents. Agriculture is uniquely placed to provide solutions to the great issues of food, energy and environmental security and we need to see coherent thinking from Government across it policy-making to ensure farmers can prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.”
Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, President of the CLA said: "The Farming Futures survey results also show that 22 per cent of farmers want to measure their on-farm emissions. The CLA's Calm calculator will soon offer the opportunity of a freely available, on-line, business-based approach for farms and estates to calculate their annual emissions and the carbon sequestration of the key greenhouse gases associated with the activities of land-based businesses.
“Land managers can then begin to understand, quantify and manage greenhouse gas emissions and take advantage of the opportunities that climate change presents."
Graham Jellis, HGCA Research Director said: ‘These results show that farmers really can be part of the solution. We need to see more action now, so that farmers and growers can take advantage of the opportunities that climate change presents, and prepare for the risks.’
David Caffall, Chief Executive of the AIC said: “There are around 4000 professional FACTS advisers and BASIS agronomists offering the latest advice. Many supply companies are running workshops to assist their customers in achieving input efficiencies. Support is also available from animal nutritionist and feed formulators.”
Farming Futures has recently secured £250,000 in funding from Defra’s Secretary of State. The second phase of the project will be launched at the Oxford Farming Conference on 3 January 2008.
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Notes to editors- Media enquiries to Katie Zabel, project manager: email@example.com or 07739 460676.- Farming Futures is a communications collaboration project between Forum for the Future, the NFU, CLA, AIC, ARF (on behalf of the agricultural and horticultural levy boards) and Defra.- These results are the latest in three surveys interviewing farmers about climate change, 385 farmers were questioned by each survey.- Agriculture contributes seven per cent of the UK’s green house gas emissions – comprising of: 67 per cent nitrous oxide, 37 per cent methane and one per cent carbon dioxide.- The re-launch will take place on 3 January 2008 at 5pm at Oxford Farming Conference. To attend the launch, please contact Katie Zabel, project manager: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07739 460676.- Farming Futures secured funding from Defra’s Farming for the Future Programme in November 2007.- For further information, please see www.farmingfutures.org.uk