Farmers prioritising sustainability investments, NFU survey shows

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The NFU’s latest Confidence Survey reveals that more farmers than ever are planning to invest in energy efficiency and adopt other net zero measures on farms. This positive focus comes despite a backdrop of sustained low confidence and high levels of uncertainty within the farming industry.

Farmers’ intentions to invest in energy efficiency are at the highest level recorded, followed by plans to invest in diversification and skills and training.

This signals just how important sustainability and efficient food production is for farm businesses, and, in the year the UK hosts COP26, how British farmers are best placed to deliver climate-friendly food both now and in the future.

NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts said: “It’s fantastic to see so many farmers making plans to implement net zero measures on their farms, whether it’s investing in energy efficiency or carbon storage, especially at a time when business confidence among farmers is so low.

“As a nation we really stand up tall when it comes to climate and environmentally friendly food production, and we can’t take this for granted.

“Nor can we ignore the fact that overall farm business confidence has remained negative for three years running and the significant impact this is having on businesses and their ability to invest in things that would support increased sustainable food production.

“Farmers already deliver so much for the nation and this survey demonstrates that farmers are eager to do more as we work towards our ambition of becoming net zero by 2040. As an industry we have huge potential when it comes to contributing to the government’s green growth ambition, whether it’s boosting farms’ productivity and efficiency, increasing renewable energy production, creating jobs, contributing to economic growth, and building on the UK’s sustainability credentials at home and abroad.

In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the survey shows that:
69% of farmers plan to improve soil health or carbon content
51% plan to plant trees
38% plan to enlarge or extend hedgerows
35% plan to invest in more renewable energy generation (37% of farmers are already producing or using renewable energy)
35% plan to invest in low carbon agri-technology e.g. precision farming, livestock monitoring

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