The industry said it felt ‘ill-equipped and under-resourced’ to achieve its targets and transition to ’sustainable’ food production at scale.
Calls for urgent financial support to help farmers meet net zero targets have been ramped up as the need for ‘mainstream’ nature-friendly farming is echoed by farmers and conservationists.
A new Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) report said 95 per cent of NFFN farmers thought nature-friendly farming was the way forward in addressing and mitigating climate change, while 99 per cent said it was crucial in addressing environmental protection and improving biodiversity.
However, 90 per cent said the industry was ‘ill-equipped and under-resourced’ to achieve its targets and transition to ’sustainable’ food production at scale.
They questioned the Government’s public money for public goods promise, with only 10 per cent suggesting they trusted it would be delivered.
The NFFN echoed its calls that only a long-term financial commitment would ensure aims were met and delivered.
It said farmers wanted support in engaging with the public to jointly demand UK food was sustainably sourced, while influencing policy, creating a knowledge base and sharing best practice on innovative techniques to support their transition to nature-friendly farming.
NFFN chairman Martin Lines said: “Now is the time for nature-friendly farming to become mainstream.
“Unless we urgently transition to a farming system that produces sustainable food, reduces emissions, restores habitats and sequesters carbon, farmer livelihoods and future food production will be threatened, and the impacts of climate change will escalate.”
He added it was clear farmers’ upskilling could only be provided with financial support from foundations and funders.
The NFU, which has vowed to reach net zero by 2040, said British farmers were up for the challenge.
NFU chief renewables and climate change adviser Jonathan Scurlock added: “However, we have been very clear that success in this ambition relies on partnership and support from Government, stakeholders and the wider supply chain.
“It remains crucial that any future domestic agricultural policy provides the framework for farmers and growers to deliver our environmental and climate ambitions, as well as delivering long-term food security for the nation.”