GIVING VIDEO evidence to Scotland’s Climate Assembly, NFU Scotland president elect Martin Kennedy has shared his vision for how Scottish agriculture will be part of the solution to climate change.

Mr Kennedy insisted that, given the right tools, Scotland’s farmers and crofters will be in 'pole position' to lead the world in terms of a positive response to the problem of rising CO2 levels and the climate disruption that causes.

“Climate change, and how we deal with it, is something that will dictate our future for generations to come," he stated.

"If we chose to ignore it then the future is bleak, but if we listen to the science which is evolving all the time, then there will be a fantastic opportunity to maintain a sustainable future for all our species.

“For farmers and crofters, food production, climate change mitigation and environmental enhancement are all linked," said Mr Kennedy. "From a Scottish perspective, if we take a holistic approach to all three of these issues and are given the right tools in the toolbox to address them, then we in Scotland will be in pole position to lead the world on how to reverse the current situation.

“In global terms, Scotland is already starting from a good position, but we recognise that more can be done if we create opportunities for each sector to play its part.”

He stressed that the agricultural sector was willing to change, but recognised that despite the 'remarkable' reduction in emissions since 1990, it would have to move faster to meet the targets set out by government, while still producing local high quality nutritious food in a profitable manner.

“If this is not managed carefully then we will simply offshore our emissions by way of imports from other countries who do not share the same concerns for climate change or the environment, not to mention the socio-economic impact this would have on many of our rural communities,” he said.

In the video, Mr Kennedy called for a change in future agricultural support policy to be based on activity; greater incentives to utilise land productively and improve soil health; and greater recognition that Scotland’s climatic conditions and topography are extremely well placed to produce high quality protein through grazing livestock.

He concluded: “Time is not on our side so if we want to lead from the front, we need to act now. Using science and technology is the way to drive change in all sectors of agriculture to allow us to play our part in climate change mitigation, but this will require long term government commitment.

“NFU Scotland, and wider Scottish agriculture, are keen to work with Scottish Government to deliver on their ambitious Climate Change targets but we need to be supported to make the transformational changes required.”