National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

21 October 2021

Young farmers from across the globe joined together at the Countryside COP in October to discuss the challenges of climate change and how they can be part of the solution to delivering climate-friendly food.

Jointly organised by the NFU, National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) and YOUNGO (the official children and youth constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), the event brought together young farmers and people from around the world to discuss the challenges of climate change for farming businesses. 

Chaired by Elliot Cole, a member of Devon Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, the session involved panellists discussing how they are implementing solutions to deliver sustainable, climate-friendly farming systems. Elliot was the winner of the 2020 NFYFC Climate Change Challenge and is passionate about sustainable farming and the role that agriculture has to play in addressing the climate crisis.

The session was held during a week-long Countryside COP event, organised by Championing the Farmed Environment (CFE). 

Responding to the publication of the government’s Net Zero Strategy ahead of COP26, NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts stated that British farmers had a huge part to play in the national contribution to a net zero economy.

This message was certainly replicated by international young farmers who contributed positively to the Countryside COP conversation. Members of the panel concluded that there should be government investment in research and education; policy makers and government representatives should visit a farm before they attend COP26 so that they really understand agriculture and land use; and collaboration between young and old as well as global and local knowledge combined was essential for a sustainable future.

The range of topical questions produced synergy in thoughts for future sustainable farming and the support needed.  All were mindful of the importance of food production and farmers being key to managing land as well as being part of the solution for climate change.  The impact of extreme weather further highlighted the need for effective future land use.

Young farmers shared a request for skills to optimise land management and soil condition -emphasising that although land is an emitter of carbon, it’s also a sequester of carbon. Effective management is key and farming in nature-positive ways should be justly rewarded and help to enthuse young people’s interest in agriculture.  Accessing finance is a global difficulty for young farmers who need to lower their input costs and manage market volatility. Future collaboration with other industries will be essential as well as access to research and skills including carbon management when planning and growing crops.

There was hope for robust discussion about food security, sharing farmers’ good practice as well as future farming ambitions at COP26 and a consensus that the people best placed to make decisions about future land use is farmers supported by policy makers.   


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