Farmers being challenged on their environmental performance
23 April 2010
A new survey released by Farming Futures – a collaborative project between the farming industry, Forum for the Future and Defra which helps farmers respond to climate change - reveals that one in four farmers have noticed increased interest from customers in their environmental performance over the past year.
Just over 50% of those farmers surveyed recognise that addressing climate change offers potential business opportunities, while the number of farmers producing their own energy has doubled since last year. Almost half are taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from their land and one in three (31%) farmers are doing something to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Encouragingly, almost half (47%) of farmers are confident that the industry’s target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 11% by 2020 can be met - and a massive 47% are improving energy efficiency on their farm.
“Like every sector of the economy, farming has its role to play in the shift to a low carbon economy, but the good news is that a lot of the things farmers can do are good for their bottom line too,” says Madeleine Lewis, Farming Futures strategic advisor. “And it’s not all about big investments – as we can see from the survey results, almost half of farmers are improving the energy efficiency on their farm – these smaller actions are just as important.”
Other key findings from the survey are:
- Pig and poultry farmers came out top in reducing GHGs from their farms, with 63% and 58% respectively saying they were taking action
- The East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber came out top in terms of reducing GHGs from their farms, with 61% and 56% respectively saying they were taking action
- Veg and potato growers and pig farmers came out top in adapting to the impacts of climate change, with 47% and 45% respectively saying they were taking action
- The West Midlands and the East Midlands came out top in adapting to the impacts of climate change, with 45% and 39% saying they were taking action
- 74% think that producers should work more closely with processors and retailers to combat climate change
- 82% think that farmers should work together and share ideas more to combat climate change, which could include setting up buying/sharing cooperatives, or ‘knowledge’ cooperatives
- 88% said that rising input prices were making them more efficient with their resources, an increase on last year
- Farmers are increasingly interested in measuring their farm’s carbon footprint - 36% compared to 31% last year.
The new Farming Futures website is designed to help farmers discover and share what actions they can take to reduce their environmental impact.