If farmers are forced to join the onslaught on Net Zero, millions will starve, GEORDIE BURNETT-STUART

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There are so many threats to British agriculture. Too much sun, not enough rain. Rising fuel and fertilizer costs. Catastrophic labor shortage. And appallingly low profit margins, leaving farmers struggling to survive or selling out altogether.

Therefore, self-inflicted wounds are serious business.

I’m specifically talking about the rush to Net Zero, at least as far as farming is concerned. Net Zero is the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In practice, however, this means that farms have been told to forego the tried-and-true food-production tools — pesticides and chemical fertilizers — that have done so much to feed the nation since the war.

Farmers have also been urged to phase out traditional meat production to reduce methane in the atmosphere. Who is requesting these changes? Bureaucrats, of course – namely the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, plus the remnants of European Union diktats.

What [net zero] In practice, that means farms have been told to abandon tried-and-true food-production tools — pesticides and chemical fertilizers — that have done so much to feed the nation since the war. (Above: Emissions from the Jeffrey Energy Center coal-fired power plant stacks at sunset near Emmett, Kansas)

I have grown food for 40 years and now run a mixed farm in Aberdeenshire using grass fed cattle, barley for the Scotch whiskey industry and wheat for chickens. So I know that what has been proposed is simply not feasible. Targets to reduce pesticides and fertilizers between 2030 and 2050 are less ambitious than impossible.

Impossible if we want to keep feeding the country.

I realize there is a lot of support for green virtue signals, mostly from people who have never set foot on a farm. But let’s get honest about organic food, because that’s what the Net Zero drive is asking of us. That is, livestock and crops raised without the benefit of pest control and chemical fertilizers.

EU officials have pushed ahead with an impracticable “farm-to-fork” plan that calls for a 30 percent increase in such foods by 2030. Despite Brexit, we seem to accept this.

I believe the organic movement is nothing more than a fad. It’s certainly not a national nutrition plan for a country of 67 million people.

Organic farming is only suitable for home gardens, allotment gardens and for the rich who spend a lot more money. For conventional farmers like me it is clear that organic production requires significantly more land – and is therefore enormously inefficient.

It’s not that I’m against the environment. Where environmental programs are practical and appropriate, we put them into practice on our farm. There are mixed forests to encourage wildlife and we leave natural corridors throughout the country to help small mammals escape the plow.

I realize there is a lot of support for green virtue signals, mostly from people who have never set foot on a farm.  (Pictured: A car exhaust pipe is shown on a road)

I realize there is a lot of support for green virtue signals, mostly from people who have never set foot on a farm. (Pictured: A car exhaust pipe is shown on a road)

But anything but intelligent, modern agriculture is rampant, low-yield and unsustainable. Going back to the methods of the 1940s cannot be part of the plan for any farmer. It will punish the poor and make us dependent on foreign food supplies – a condition brought into sharp focus by Putin’s monstrous invasion of Ukraine.

Food prices in the UK have risen nearly 12 per cent this year, largely as a result of an event thousands of miles away. The cost of fertilizers, which depend on petrochemicals, has gone through the roof. No wonder officials are scrambling to redesign the more imaginative plans for green compliance. To say we were caught with our pants down is a gross understatement.

Then there’s the fashionable war on meat, fueled in part by the “methane myth.” This is the claim that farm animals like cows and sheep damage the environment by burping and farting. Cows in particular are accused of making a major contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. Each year, a cow can produce up to 200kg of methane, which Joe Biden has lectured us all is “one of the most powerful greenhouse gases”, with more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide.

Is that true? Recent studies by the University of Munich indicate that the methane contribution from livestock could be overestimated by a factor of three or even four. In addition, unlike carbon dioxide, methane is completely decomposed after a few years. This war cannot be dismissed as a deep green fad. A recent editorial in The Guardian newspaper went so far as to suggest that it was time to officially limit the amount of meat sold.

Recent studies by the University of Munich indicate that the methane contribution from livestock could be overestimated by a factor of three or even four (stock image of plumes of smoke in a Chinese plant)

Recent studies by the University of Munich indicate that the methane contribution from livestock could be overestimated by a factor of three or even four (stock image of plumes of smoke in a Chinese plant)

Not to mention the burden of proof that British grass-fed meat is sustainable. Or that the fields themselves remove vast amounts of carbon from the atmosphere.

Or the fact that the crop farming so cherished by youthful vegans is not possible without artificial fertilisers… without animal excrement, which enriches the soil, viz.

I have long suspected that a quest for synthetic meat production – and the money-making opportunities it promises – is a hidden factor in this nefarious attempt to abolish animal farming. Does anyone really want to eat synthetic meat?

Unfortunately, the public is as confused as it is misinformed by zealots blinded by smug activism. It’s not just a British problem. In Germany, half of the population believes that natural agriculture can fight world hunger. It can’t.

The World Bank and the UN are part of the problem. Their leftist views dominate and lend credibility to anti-meat reports. They explain that introducing alternatives to meat produces “progressive” results, such as: B. “Rewilding”.

I believe we can protect our landscape and produce more quality food for our own needs. Critics of modern agriculture often denigrate current systems as industrial or intensive, but it is only by producing more food on fewer acres that we can feed populations and leave more land for biodiversity and wildlife.

Why not support more agriculture in cities where technology allows for indoor growing? Or do more to devise strategies that avoid unnecessary plowing and the resulting release of carbon dioxide trapped in the soil?

The world’s sheer variety of crops, terrains and weather systems means that we will always need not only traditional farming skills but also modern methods. It is therefore important that UK agriculture finds a way to encourage farming systems that promote biodiversity and production.

Quirky concepts like fertilizer-free nutrition or rewilding will ease the consciences of the wealthy. But what’s the point when millions are starving?

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