OLIVE tree crops in the Yorkshire Dales that was one of the possible predictions for the future as farmers and landowners emerged from lockdown for the Great Yorkshire Show the country's first live major agricultural event to be held since the pandemic started.

As they gathered to plot the future for farming they called on the government to back new solutions to fight soaring temperatures, floods and drought and promised new approaches to the challenges facing agriculture as they battle to ‘build back better’ after Covid-19.

It came amid dire warnings of 45 degree temperatures by 2050 with a weather forecast produced by Ripon farmer James Johnson for the National Farmers Union. It was based on meteorological predictions anticipating far drier, hotter summers leading to the emergence of new crops such as olives. The NFU is calling for greater collaboration to secure water supplies for food production, developing a changing landscape with more drought resistant trees and renewable energy.

James said: "The forecast is designed to prompt discussion about the climate challenges facing farmers now and in the future, and in particular the need for a more joined-up water management strategy to help British farmers achieve their goal of leading the world in climate-friendly food production."

NFU President, Minette Batters, called for a long term collaborative approach with government on water and the farming agenda. She said: "As the UK gears up to host the UN climate change conference, COP26, we will be at the centre of global discussions. Rural Britain and the farm businesses that lie at its heart has a crucial role to play in developing, implementing and making a success of the new green agenda. There are huge opportunities to create jobs; to generate economic growth; to showcase ‘Brand Britain’ on the world stage through increased exports; and to improve the health and wellbeing of the entire nation.

"We are embarking on a new era for farming. COVID-19 has shone the brightest of lights on what we have to offer as a food-producing nation and the importance of rural Britain. We are ready to become a global leader in climate friendly farming, working with government to provide a global blueprint for sustainable food production."