Charity joins coalition aiming to protect the future of farming

Countryside charity, CPRE has joined farmers and environmental charities to agree on a set of principles for the future of farming.

In doing so, it hopes that those princinples will help farmers and environmentalists work together more effectively to create sustainable farming that works for people and nature while providing resistance to climate breakdown.
The principles were agreed at the 2023 Oxford Farming Conference.

Graeme Willis, agriculture lead at CPRE, said: “Farmers need support in facing the nature, climate, and financial crises. This consensus unites farmers and charities who are passionate about nature and the environment. It sets down all we agree on – which is much – and a set of core ideas that bind us.
“We know how vital it is to think strategically about how we use the precious asset that land is. This will be the start of a wider conversation over the next six months.
“We’re also keen to hear from all our farming members – and others besides. What in this consensus resonates with you, or what would you do differently? All views are welcome.
“We’re pleased to be part of this powerful collective voice, which aims to create a more resilient, fair, and sustainable food system.”

The countryside charity has long advocated for nature-based farming and climate solutions, and for improving food security.
With farmland making up two-thirds of the countryside, it has highlighted the need to support a system that restores habitats, provides fresh air and clean water, and nurtures the landscapes that make the countryside special.
In November 2022, CPRE surveyed more than 1,100 farmers and found that hedgerows were important to many of them.
It has since called on the government to set a target of increasing the hedgerow network by 40% by 2050.
With much of this likely to be on farmland, the CPRE argues that farmers must receive support to regenerate hedgerows.

The countryside charity has long advocated for nature-based farming and climate solutions

The countryside charity has long advocated for nature-based farming and climate solutions

A few weeks ago, the government indicated that it will pay more to farmers who help with nature restoration – but the CPRE is clear that this is only part of the solution.
Research by the charity also revealed that thousands of hectares of productive farmland has been lost to development. This puts huge pressure on food security, with large areas of quality farmland also at risk of flooding due to climate change.
The recent consensus has a set of core principles that forms its foundation. It sets out that a healthy environment underpins food security, and that farming is central to tackling a range of environmental and health crises.
Further, it argues that diversity in nature, farming, and communities, as well as in crops and animals, is crucial. It supports resilience and innovation in the face of the climate emergency and the economic challenges we face today.

The coalition includes the Nature Friendly Farming Network, Pasture for Life, Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, CPRE, Soil Association, Sustain, RSPB, WWF UK, National Trust, The Wildlife Trusts and Woodland Trust, among others.

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