Farming is delivering some real environmental improvements, according to a report launched today.

The report, produced by the NFU, NFU Cymru, Farmers Union of Wales and the Environment Agency, shows that otters are on the increase and the number of pollution incidents caused by farmers is on the decline.

Greenhouse gases have also fallen by 12% over the past 10 years and over 4m ha of farmland are now covered by an agri-environment scheme.

However, the report shows that there are concerns for the farmed environment, which includes diffuse pollution, the decline of some farmland wildlife and managing the impacts of climate change.

NFU director general Richard Macdonald said: “What happens in farming matters to the whole country and this report is about how we have a profitable agricultural sector as well as a positive impact on the environment.

“There have been a great many positive changes – the number of pollution incidents caused by farming has fallen, pesticide concentrations in groundwater has declined in some areas and numbers of farmland wildlife have begun to stabilise and increase.

“What is clear from our involvement in this report is that we need to work together – government agencies and those who farm the countryside – to face the challenges of the future and make the most of the opportunities it will afford.”

The report builds on a campaign being launched by the NFU this week called “Why Farming Matters”.

The union wants to show the positive contribution agriculture makes to the nation.