A REPORT on the future of farming in Northumberland has been released.

The Future of Farming report, commissioned by Northumberland County Council, explores the challenges of moving towards low-carbon manufacturing, sustaining food production and large-scale tree planting and peat restoration, supporting farming businesses to survive and thrive as well as balancing the future interests of estate landowners and tenant farmers. 

A series of discussions have been ongoing since Spring 2022 which have resulted in 12 recommendations being put to Northumberland County Council, including closer collaborative working, better access to training, improved digital connectivity and championing the ‘made in Northumberland’ brand.

Council leader Glen Sanderson said: "It’s great to see this report come into fruition. 

"Farming is such a huge part of our identity here in Northumberland and we need to fully support our farming communities to become more sustainable.  

"Being a farmer myself I know the importance of future-proofing our agricultural sector in a way that works effectively for everyone and I look forward to putting the recommendations from the report into action."

The inquiry's committee has been made up of 11 independent experts from the rural and farming industry in Northumberland including representatives from the Northumberland National Park Authority, National Farmers Union, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and the Farming and Countryside Commission. 

Chair of the inquiry Professor Sally Shortall, from Newcastle University, said: "The report will help shape a sustainable future for our agricultural sector. Through these discussions we can better understand the challenges and opportunities faced by our farming communities and I am honoured to have been asked to lead on this inquiry. 

"Agriculture is a dynamic and innovative industry that covers food production, retailers, local, national, and international markets and offers exciting opportunities for people who wish to pursue careers in this occupation.  

"We know there is a lot of work to be done but, the inquiry makes constructive recommendations that reflect the specific needs of our farming communities. 

"I would like to thank all of the committee along with colleagues from the County Council for their insight and for helping to bring this into a reality."

The inquiry was set up in response to the government’s Agricultural Transition Plan published in November 2020 which is part of its overall commitment to have greenhouse gas emissions at net zero in the UK by 2050.