Outgoing NFU president Peter Kendall has defended farming’s impact on the environment in his final New Year’s message.
Mr Kendall said accusations from some environmental groups that farmers fail to recognise their dependency on a thriving, stable environment to produce food could not be further from the truth and he highlighted the role of farmers in national parks as an example.
“Without extensive sheep and cattle grazing the heather and grass moors would revert to rough scrub and woodland. Public access would be difficult and key wildlife species like the red grouse that depend on grazing would be lost.
“Farmers shape the lowlands too – over 40 per cent of hedges are trimmed to retain a berry crop for over-wintering birds, every farmer is required to complete an annual soil protection review and Defra statistics show there have been 53,000 more ponds created in the past decade.”