Post-Brexit – Opportunities and Consequences
With a changing political landscape and the biggest UK agricultural
reform in history – ‘change’ is defining our times. However, it is not
just change itself but the speed and rate of this change that leads to
uncertainty – set against a backdrop of known climate change,
environmental degradation and biodiversity loss.
The most global recognised definition of ‘sustainable development’ is Brundtland Report, Our Common Future (UN WCED, 1987) which states ‘sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.
From a farming perspective, maximising production for financial gain at the cost of the environment is clearly unstainable for future generations.
Sustainable Farming has been defined as ‘a practice which maintains yields while increasing environmental goods and benefits’ (Sir John Beddington). For producers to achieve this, it requires ‘increased resource use efficiency, like improving soil quality, reducing nitrogen run-off, precision agriculture and reduction in water use for irrigation to name a few’. A win-win for farmers and for the environment.
No single farm system is ultimately sustainable, it requires a multitude of approaches across large areas.
Sustainable farming is not an option it is an essential requirement – Sustainability Planning allows for informed decision making.
We believe in a multi-pronged approach whereby knowledge sharing, best practice, collaboration and cooperation underpin landscape scale environmental change.
Suffolk FWAG’s main objective is to support farmer’s through this time of ‘agricultural transition’ to ensure land is highly productive, resilient and healthy. We will provide support and advice on how best to respond and integrate both Environmental and Agricultural policy areas – show casing ‘best practice’ and pioneering examples.
We are providing essential and critical support to farmers during this period, providing ways to ‘adaptively manage’ farm systems through optimisation – enabling sound positioning for farming futures.
It involves the science behind most new policy areas and subsequent schemes – that of protecting, restoring and creating natural capital and ecosystem services upon which human wellbeing depends. In short, placing emphasis on the whole farm system including the wider ecosystems. This approach works with natural processes rather than seeking to control them by rebuilding soils and restoring ecosystem processes.