UK dairy summit to tackle environment issues
have prompted a dairy industry conference on farming and the
environment in the UK.
Industry association Dairy UK will hold the conference on 5 June. Reducing farming's impact on the environment will form a central part of EU policy to make food production more sustainable, and will also play a role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Conference-goers will hear how dairy farmers can limit their environmental impact in the most cost-effective way. Forthcoming regulations that will affect the dairy sector will also be addressed, including on carbon emissions reduction, nitrate vulnerable zones, nutrient management plans and anaerobic digestion. Jim Begg, Dairy UK director general, said the conference would equip farm advisers "to give clear and consistent messages to dairy farmers". Pressure to act on the environment has been growing in Brussels and London. News of the conference comes only a week after the European Commission unveiled plans for a so-called environmental tax. Earlier this month EU member states agreed to set targets to reduce CO2 emissions and increase the use of renewable energy. And in the UK, environment minister David Miliband recently told farmers he wanted to create a 'green standard' that could be placed on food packs alongside nutritional information. "I can envisage the next step where, as well as nutritional standards, environmental standards become the norm on food packaging," he told delegates at the recent National Farmers' Union conference in Birmingham. The UK government claims to spend over £30 million a year on research and development for farming and the food chain, and an additional £40 million on animal health and welfare related research. An extra £0.5m has been earmarked next year to help farming respond to the challenge of climate change.