Farmers 'willing to work for environment'

The benefits to the environment of farming need to be recognised and welcomed, the National Farmers' Union has argued.

Speaking in response to the State of the Natural Environment 2008 report from Natural England, president of the union Peter Kendall argued there were environmental challenges the farming sector was ready to try and meet.

"It is increasingly frustrating that the benefits of the work being done across all forms of farming are not being recognised by Natural England and this is creating barriers to the progress that we want to see in stewardship schemes," said Mr Kendall.

He added that he was surprised the organisation had emphasised negative points, which has led to the portrayal of the countryside as being in crisis.

Mr Kendall noted that partnerships between farmers and conservation groups has led to the countryside being more accessible to the public and has offered better protection for wildlife.

Yesterday, chief economist at the NFU Carmen Suarez said that a boom in farming thanks to grain price increases had been over-exaggerated.

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