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Soil degradation: It’s a huge threat to UK farmers but they seem to need government incentives to fight it.

Mr and Mrs General Public sure seem stupid – from news stories over the last few days, it seems government policy really does need to lead them by the nose.

This Site has reported on the fact that members of the public would rather have a faster train journey than protect valuable natural habitats.

Now it seems farmers need to be incentivised into protecting the soil that they need, in order to keep their businesses viable (and us fed).

What is wrong with people?

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, if we continue to degrade the soil at the current rate, the world could run out of topsoil in about 60 years.

Without topsoil, the earth’s ability to filter water, absorb carbon, and feed people plunges and we all die.

But farmers still need a financial incentive to do the right thing.

It’s as This Writer has said for many years, though: government sets the conditions under which we all live.

People will do whatever they can to live as well as they can – in the short term, because they delude themselves that the long-term future is someone else’s problem.

That puts a lot of power and influence in the hands of our elected representatives.

So, before anybody starts praising the Tories for doing the right thing in this case, consider all the cases in which they are not.

A promise to do more to protect the soil will form part of a vision for the UK farm industry being unveiled by the government.

Ministers have accepted that farmers need incentives to farm in a way that leaves a healthy soil for future generations.

Soil protection has become a core issue of the Agriculture Bill that is returning to Parliament.

In post-Brexit Britain [farmers] will be rewarded for providing services for society like clean air, clean and plentiful water, flood protection and thriving wildlife.

The grant changes will be phased in over seven years.

Source: Agriculture Bill: Soil at heart of UK farm grant revolution – BBC News

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