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NFU AGM REPORT - Call for Investment in Renewable Energy

16 February 2009
National Farmers Union

UK - The government should invest more in farming and agriculture to boost the UK's potential for renewable energy, writes TheCattleSite senior editor Chris Harris from the National Farmers' Union annual meeting in Birmingham.

NFU president Peter Kendall Peter Kendall in his opening address to the conference said that the Government ahs missed a trick in not ensuring sufficient investment.

He said that now is the time to produce incentives by giving tax writes offs and loan guarantees to help farmers make the necessary investments in renewable energy.

Mr Kendall said that this will not only help achieve the goal of a low carbon economy but also boost "the flagging construction sector".

"Let us not forget, agriculture has the potential to be an energy exporting sector, thanks to biofuel, biogas and renewable energy generation on farm," he said.

Mr Kendall also hit out at the lobby that blamed agriculture and in particular the livestock sector for increasing carbon emissions.

He attacked the view that to go green it is necessary to "go veggie".

"Time and again we hear this dangerous fallacy that cutting meat and dairy consumption is some sort of magi solution or green bullet," he said.

"It may seem obvious to many of us here that comparing the emissions of a 20,000 head US feed lot to an upland grass-fed beef and sheep unit in England or Wales in nonsense, but it seems you have to state the obvious, and unfortunately, keep stating it."

Mr Kendall said that following all the industry's efforts to improve animal welfare and enhance environmental performance it is ludicrous to damage the livestock sector by cutting meat and dairy consumption.

In his speech to the conference, environment secretary Hilary Benn said that farms should be getting into new technologies such as anaerobic digestion.

He said that the regulations over treating manure as waste would be changed when it was used as a fertiliser.

And he added that the government would be injecting £10 million into development projects for anaerobic digestion.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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