The agricultural organization has published its diet foundationThe report says good soil health is crucial to the country’s farming systems and UK food production. He also explained the benefits of healthy soil in reducing flood risk, supporting wildlife habitats and biodiversity, and carbon sequestration and storage.
The report states that healthy soils are the basis for healthy food production, with soil being required for 95% of global food production. However, in 2021, the UK’s overall food self-sufficiency was 60%.
Open the way
The NFU said the right environment must be provided for farmers and growers to increase food security, not just for the UK’s food supply but also to help ‘pave the way’ for the global security challenge food for a growing population.
The NFU has also called for grant programs that encourage the adoption of technologies to boost productivity by reducing soil compaction and erosion.
The report welcomed the focus on soil health in Defra’s first Environmental Land Management (ELM) programme, the Sustainable Agriculture Incentive (SFI). This is already available to farmers and aligns with the report’s findings regarding incentives to maintain and conserve soil structure.
Reward the farmers
NFU Vice President David Exwood said: “Farmers are in the best position to continue working to sustain soil health and secure it for the future. The importance of healthy soils for everybody cannot be underestimated. It underpins our productive agricultural systems and provides enormous benefits for the environment, the agricultural landscape and provides resilience to climate change.
“The new ELM scheme being deployed includes the ground. It must now evolve and address areas such as nutrient management. It is also vital that new payment schemes fairly reward farmers for these public goods and enable them to improve this vital work.