“Welsh farmers play an irreplaceable role in looking after our cherished environment,” NFU Cymru President John Davies will impress on key policy makers, academics, NGOs and farmers today at an event during Wales Nature Week exploring the relationship between food, farming and the environment.
The NFU Cymru Sustainable Agriculture: Food, Farming and the Environment conference, taking place at Pentre Farm, Merthyr Cynog, Brecon today (Friday 7th June), will aim to showcase Welsh farmers’ crucial role in producing high quality food whilst protecting, maintaining and enhancing the farmed environment.
The event coincides with the release of a new NFU Cymru report, also titled Sustainable Agriculture: Food, Farming and the Environment, examining the key areas where farmers can, and do, play an essential role in tackling challenges such as landscape, biodiversity, soil, water and air and climate. The report features case studies of NFU Cymru members who highlight how their own farming practices are maintaining and enhancing the nation’s vital natural assets in collaboration with producing high quality, affordable food to world leading standards.
Opening the event, NFU Cymru President John Davies will say: “There is an inherent connectivity between agriculture, our environment, our landscapes, our communities, our culture and our heritage with many inter-dependencies. In Wales I believe we have the legislative framework and ways of working to recognise this connectivity. In the context of Brexit we have to move forward to develop and deliver a truly sustainable vision for Welsh agriculture that goes beyond seeking to balance or compromise a number of seemingly competing objectives, but instead develops a vision that embraces equally the environment, economic, social and cultural aspects of sustainability.
“We must start a new conversation about our farmed environment. On our family farm, I have a genuine ambition to leave our farm in a better state for my children and the generations that come after them. I am clear there is more we can all do. I am also clear this has to be done on the basis of evidence, on the development of a shared understanding, and through collaboration and working in genuine partnership – through the development of an approach that recognises and respects that Welsh farmers have a unique knowledge and perspective on the farmed environment and also a special contribution to make in its ongoing management and enhancement going forward.
“Earlier this week the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths provided an update on the Brexit and Our Land proposals for a new domestic agricultural policy in Wales. One of the themes of that statement was around sustainable food production going hand in hand with the delivery of public goods. NFU Cymru maintains that any truly sustainable agriculture programme should be based on the cornerstones of stability, productivity and the environment in order to underpin growth in the Welsh food and drink sector, deliver economic resilience, maintain and enhance our environment and drive investment, innovation and productivity. NFU Cymru will continue to stress this important point to Welsh Government.”
The on-farm event will receive addresses from Natural Resources Wales Interim Chair Sir David Henshaw and Brecon & Radnorshire AM Kirsty Williams. There will also be two panel discussions; one featuring representatives from academia, retail and environmental organisations, the second featuring a panel of farmers featured in NFU Cymru’s new report.