Finding the ‘sweet spot’ between biodiversity and profitable farm production will be key to the UK sheep sector's future.

The latest National Sheep Association Breakfast Club webinar has been described as a starting point for the association’s work to promote the positive role that UK sheep farming has to play in the climate change crisis.

Chaired by NSA chief executive Phil Stocker, the meeting welcomed experienced sheep farmers John Pawsey from Suffolk, Hywel Morgan from Powys, and Davy MacCracken, head of SRUC's Integrated Land Management Department, who shared their views and experience of enhancing diverse habitats, providing food, shelter and conditions on farm that have enabled wildlife populations to thrive, alongside their productive, efficient and high quality farming systems.

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Mr Stocker said: “For several generations there has been an expectation to keep farms looking ‘tidy’. On the surface this may have looked more appealing, depicting an image of a well kept and managed environment – but views are changing.

"What we may have previously perceived as ‘shabby’ should now be considered a haven for a rich diversity of species and these habitats are now increasingly found across the many different landscapes in which sheep are farmed in the UK.”

The message highlighted by all speakers during the webinar was that striking the right balance between biodiversity and productivity on farm was essential, in order to sustain thriving habitats and support and protect nature, without compromising the production of high-quality red meat.

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NSA is looking forward to further debating issues surrounding sheep farming and the environment in the lead up to COP26, including the October Breakfast Club webinar titled ‘Forgotten faces: Recognising rural culture within the climate debate’.