George Eustice Commits To Soil
Today we are at the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) conference: “Can organic help meet the challenges of climate change?” We are meeting with organic farmers and researchers from across the UK and the EU to discuss climate change and farming.
Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice sent a video, to be played in his absence. In the video, Eustice committed to putting soil health “at the heart” of our agricultural policy and centre stage for the Government’s approach to the 25 year Environment Plan. This commitment comes not a moment too soon as the Government is in the process of writing its first Agriculture Bill in 50 years.
In the video, Eustice also recognises the knowledge and understanding of soil that organic farmers have, claiming that “no one understands more than organic farmers the value of a fertile soil that’s cared for”. He says that organic farmers “recognise more than anyone else that soil cannot be mined. It is something that must be cared for, nurtured, and if you nurture it properly it will repay you.”
Eustice acknowledges the benefits of farming with soil at the heart of our farming system. He points to the need to promote a “fusion” of traditional farming using good soil husbandry.” Organic farmers are paving the way for this kind of “fusion” farming. Putting his money where his mouth is, Eustice recognised the knowledge that organic farmers have by announcing that DEFRA is opening a funding bid for a Research & Development tender. This funding will explore “how we can learn lessons from the organic sector” and how we can “transfer them to our wider approach to agriculture policy and our wider approach to soils”
As the Government tackles climate change and writes a new Agriculture Bill we are delighted that they recognize the central importance of soil and the need for a combination of innovation and long-established farming techniques for the future of agriculture.