SCOTLAND’S farmers and crofters are on the 'front line' in experiencing the impacts of climate change, with shifting weather patterns caused by climate change impacting directly on their ability to produce food.

Commenting on the publication of the Scottish Government’s Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill, NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said: “Like other industries, agriculture is continually striving to produce more with less – thereby mitigating the effects of climate change by reducing its emission output, whilst helping to provide food security.

“Farming is a biological process and therefore zero emissions from production are not possible," stressed Mr McCornick. "However, Scottish farmers and crofters are enthusiastically adopting new technology and knowledge to offset carbon emissions in a range of different ways.

"Just a few examples would be peatlands management, testing of soils, expansion in precision farming, and planting of agro-forestry – as well as uptake of schemes such as ‘Farming for a Better Climate’ and the Beef Efficiency Scheme," he said. "It is the view of NFUS that any carbon accounting scheme should give credit to these progressive practices, allowing for Scotland to be the most carbon efficient farming system in the world.

“The Scottish Government’s Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) Bill set out ambitious new targets which will challenge both individuals and industry. Like other industries that will also need to step up, we are determined to play our part as a key industry in rural Scotland to help meet these new targets. A progressive Scottish agricultural industry will be one that meets consumers’ needs and environmental ambitions whilst also becoming more profitable and productive.

“It is right and proper that Scottish agriculture shows willingness to play its part and NFUS is committed to playing a positive role in that effort," he said. "We will work with Scottish Government in a constructive manner to develop and progress policies that reduce carbon emissions from farming and allow the industry to grow and become profitable.”