Tom Bradshaw (pictured above)
NFU Deputy President, National Farmers’ Union
Farm businesses are an integral part of life in Britain. They are the bedrock of rural communities, contributing significantly to the economy.
Farm businesses are integral to life in Britain. Alongside providing high-quality, climate-friendly food, they are the bedrock of rural communities, the rural economy and local tourism and provide unparalleled care for our countryside for visitors to enjoy.
Yet, British farmers face huge challenges — from changing policy and soaring energy, feed and fertiliser costs to extreme weather events, hindering our ability to deliver crucial services for the nation.
UK farms at the heart of food security
The Prime Minister held a summit at Downing Street to focus on finding solutions to some key issues. The event demonstrated the importance of national food security and for cross-Whitehall support to increase the production of home-grown food.
One of the priorities was how to build sustainability and resilience into the food supply chain. This is crucial if we are to produce more sustainable and affordable food, energy and fibre.
Smart, efficient and resilient farming can reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Farmers need the confidence and incentives to invest in their businesses, and this is driven by government policies.
Smart, efficient and resilient farming can
reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Sustainability and resilience guidance
However, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) farmer confidence survey shows that confidence is at its lowest since the start of the pandemic. As a nation which relies heavily on food from abroad, we cannot afford to get caught in a loop of low confidence, investment and productivity.
That’s why the NFU launched guidance to help farmers and growers identify how to build business resilience and move towards British farming’s ambition to be net zero by 2040. It also focused on what government support is needed to address gaps, such as incentivising carbon and nutrient benchmarking.
Net zero measures go hand-in-hand with building business resilience. A more resilient food supply chain is exactly what the nation needs if we are to continue to provide climate-friendly, affordable food.
We also need the government to build on the momentum from the food summit and create a policy environment where British food-producing businesses can thrive, are resilient in the face of global volatility and confident enough to invest and grow — not just economically but sustainably.