Huw Irranca-Davies MS shares his thoughts on the need for sustainable farming and how Welsh farmers are implementing these practices to improve biodiversity and help future generations
Our farmers in Ogmore and across Wales have faced many challenges through the pandemic and post-Brexit. Yet many are finding innovative ways to combine farming and food production and nature restoration. It is crucial that we encourage sustainable and nature-friendly farming, support our tenant-farmers and working farms which are part of the culture and economy of Ogmore. We must also find ways to bring in the next generation of young farmers.
At a recent site visit with Sarah Murphy MS to a local farm we met with Gemma Haines, a local tenant farmer with a background in environmental sciences who showed first-hand how her approach to sustainable agriculture and landscape management can give multiple benefits to nature, as well as a livelihood. The Coity based farm is a shining example of how farming can incorporate nature recovery, nature restoration and biodiversity alongside conservation grazing for their Highland Cattle.
With the introduction of the type of grazing livestock that are actually enriching the soil and habitat and species, our farmers can work the land in the knowledge that they are helping the environment and future generations.
I spoke in the Senedd this week on the new Wales Agriculture Bill, urging that future support post-Brexit will need to ensure local food production and sustainable livelihoods for our farmers whilst also ensuring we tackle the nature crisis we see across the UK.
There are many great examples of nature-friendly farming already, where farmers work together in places like Coity-Walia. We need to learn from these examples, so we can replenish and restore our natural environment too and improve the quality of our soil and watercourses and see the return of more diverse and plentiful range of pollinators, birds, and mammals too.
We are in a climate and nature crisis, and we need to work with our farmers and environmental science to deliver a response to these pressing challenges.
Working with farmers, landowners, tenant farmers, and incorporating these innovative approaches from our young farmers like Gemma is the way to a better future for us all – and with great local food on the table too!