THE wildfires sweeping across Australia will bring the related issues of farming, the environment and climate change into sharp focus when agricultural leaders begin a keynote conference today.
It follows the publication of an opinion poll which suggests that more than nine out of 10 people think it is important that farmers focus on climate change and further reductions in emissions.
Yet what many respondents fail to recognise is that most Yorkshire farmers are also environmentalists who take their responsibilities towards the management of land very seriously indeed.
As the North Yorkshire Moors Moorland Organisation says, it is the controlled burning of heather – and subsequent removal of dead undergrowth – which helps to minimise the tinderbox conditions in Australia that, in turn, have been compounded by extreme heat.
And there’s more that the public can do to support farmers. By buying local produce, consumers are reducing Britain’s over-dependency on food and meat imports which, in turn, add to the total volume of emissions as they’re transported around the world.
That is why the current political climate should be seen as an opportunity for the farming industry to stay on the front foot so public engagement increases further and becomes even more persuasive. They do have a positive story to tell – yes there’s more to do – but it is important that it is told before misinformed opinion compromises the work, and viability, of those farm businesses here in Yorkshire going the extra mile for the environment.