Like other sectors of the economy, the Agriculture sector in the UK faces many challenges in the short, medium and long term.
However, perhaps unlike other sectors of the economy, the "go-to" solutions for the short term may exacerbate the long term issues.
For example, as margins decrease there is a tendency to increase production, often through intensification, using more fossil-fuel derived inputs. However, the GHG footprint of intensification (contributing to climate change) and the result of artificial fertiliser (contributing to decreased soil health) contribute to the long term issues faced by the sector.
The farm highlighted in this article shows that it doesn't always need to be like this. Smoothing market volatility and increasing margins can be achieved by diversification of income streams that form part of securing the long term viability of the farm, as well as contributing to achieving wider long-term policy aims for the economy as a whole, such as the 2050 net zero carbon target.
It’s clear that farming needs to be more sustainable. We’ve tried to switch to minimum tillage as much as possible and Miscanthus will hopefully help our soils to recover from intensive farming over the years.