Amy Eggleston: Environmental targets must be achievable

For those currently farming in the UK, the pressure is on to start making changes. These changes will be coming to our practices, whether we like it or not, striving to achieve a net zero emissions industry.

Despite this pressure, which comes from both inside and outside the industry, why is it still so difficult to find out what we need to do?

We all knew it was coming, but since the NFU recently set the goal to be net zero of greenhouse gas emissions across England and Wales by 2040, it seems to be official – we’re going to have to change the way we operate in order to meet environmental targets.

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This, I do not have a problem with. The environment is the word on the lips of the whole country, and therefore, a priority on the governmental agenda.

The problem I do have, however, is how this is going to be made genuinely achievable for individual farms. Firstly, we have to accurately measure where we are at now, something which I’ve found seems complex and hard to compare from farm-to-farm.

There are tools available, but these cannot be completed without the time and resource, and even the genuine understanding of how a farm’s footprint is measured.

Then it comes to actionable steps. Yes, suggestions have been made about where we can start; planting trees, changing fuel usage and improving soil health, but then what?

How do we really know what our individual farm needs to do and how far do we need to go? There might be indicators out there suggesting which direction we move in, but where do we turn to for farm specific advice?

Whether it’s capturing carbon, boosting productivity, or maximising crop health, I am optimistic that UK farmers will be able to adapt to the changes that are coming and put the work in, to be able to meet these targets.

Before we can all take action on farm level, however, I believe more needs to be done to aid individual businesses with this upcoming industry-wide change.