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Food Production and Markets Should Not Be Ignored

27 October 2009
National Farmers Union

UK - The National Farmers' Union (NFU) is warning that Natural England’s Upland Vision should fully recognise the importance of food production and the market place for upland farmers alongside other public benefits of upland farming.

Commenting ahead of the Vision’s launch, which is being published on November 12, NFU uplands spokesman Will Cockbain said: “Recent projections by the Government’s Chief Scientist, Professor John Beddington, suggest that global demand for food will double by 2050. The English uplands will have a growing opportunity to respond to the food production challenge – to produce more and impact less – especially in the context of climate change.

He believes that the uplands will continue to play a vital role in producing breeding and store stock for lowland farms; Natural England must realise the lowland and upland farms are intrinsically linked with one the customer of the other.

Mr Cockbain said: “Agri-environment schemes like Upland ELS should reward upland farmers for the public goods they deliver, but the market place is important too and the two need to be compatible and deliver economic as well as environmental security. But some of the stocking densities being requested by Natural England in parts of the uplands are so low as to be impractical and threaten the very viability of farming that the Vision must protect.

He continued saying: “If Natural England continues down this route they risk a serious breakdown in relations with the farming community. Farmers can and should deliver both food and environment but a more common sense approach is needed.”

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