NFU Scotland Welcomes Farming for 1.5°C Inquiry Report on Farming and Climate Change

NFU Scotland has welcomed the publication of an interim report that maps out a ‘transformation pathway’ for Scottish agriculture to meet the challenge of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.  

The report from the independent inquiry, Farming for 1.5°C, recognises that farming uniquely has the opportunity to not just improve its own performance by reducing emissions from agricultural activity, but to impact positively on wider societal emissions through good soil and land management, by locking up carbon in trees and soil, and by supporting ecosystems.

It states that without the engagement of the agricultural community, with its ability to absorb emissions and not just cut them, it will be impossible for Scotland to deliver against its targets. This engagement must have political and financial recognition.

The interim report includes 15 key recommendations available to read at:

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “NFU Scotland was instrumental in setting up the Farming for 1.5 °C  independent inquiry, and we welcome its report which is underpinned by science and supported by a huge range of practical knowledge and expertise.

“I would like to thank all panel members, drawn from scientific, environmental, food and farming communities and including several members of NFU Scotland.  Their work over the past 18 months has mapped out a pathway for transformation in the industry and the Scottish Government support needed to drive that transformation.

“The report sets out principles that all sectors of Scottish agriculture need to adopt. NFU Scotland agrees that we need to improve agricultural and carbon efficiency, better manage our soils, and develop a new approach to sharing knowledge and technical support.  

“What this report makes most clear is that we all need to act immediately to tackle the climate emergency.

“Scottish Government is now well equipped with advice to take action that will support Scottish farmers, crofters, and growers as they contribute to achieving our ambitious national climate change targets and reversing biodiversity loss.

“If Scottish agriculture is to play its part as a solution to climate change, it needs to see a long-term commitment set out by Scottish Government that encompasses all sectors across the industry.  The industry must be supported, guided by policy, and equipped with science-led advice if we are to reduce emissions while continuing to produce high quality food and drink.

“NFU Scotland is committed to continue working as an industry leader. Since 2016, we have made clear that leadership and direction are an essential part of the fight against climate change. We now expect to see this same leadership being delivered through effective policy and support measures as a matter of urgency.”

Notes for Editors

  • The Farming for 1.5°C Inquiry, jointly sponsored by NFU Scotland and Nourish Scotland, is innovative in its make-up of farmers, scientists, activists and environmental NGOs.  For the last 18 months they have listened to experts from across the agricultural and climate change arena in order to recommend how Scottish agriculture can become the champions of the fight against climate change.  
  • A copy of executive summary is attached and a copy of the interim report is available at: 
  • The co-chairs and panel members of Farming for 1.5°C are: 
    • Nigel Miller - Co-chair Nigel is a graduate of the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies. He worked in the Highlands in a mixed farm animal practice before returning home to the family farm partnership in the Scottish Borders.  His current farming operation in partnership with his sons carries 170 breeding cows and 800 breeding ewes; winter and spring barley and has diversified into wood processing. Nigel is a past chair of FWAG Scotland and the NFUS Livestock Committee and held the position of NFU Scotland President over the period of the last CAP Reform. He has been a board member of SRUC and SAC Commercial and today is a board member of the Moredun Research Institute and Chair of Livestock Health Scotland.
    • Mike Robinson - Co-chair Mike is the Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) based in Perth. He has worked in the Scottish charity and environment sector for the last 25 years, initially with RSPB as Head of Marketing, and later with the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh as Director of Development. In a voluntary capacity Mike has held more than 40 board/advisory roles, mostly for environment and human rights bodies, including as previous Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS). He also chaired the Scottish Parliament’s short life working group on annual targets, sits on the advisory groups for Air Passenger Duty & Scotrail, and the board of Transform Scotland. He is a member of the Arctic Strategy Forum & Perth City Development Board and is heavily involved in promoting climate change solutions. He holds two Honorary Fellowships and awards for his services to the environment. 
    • Andrew Barbour runs a livestock enterprise with his wife and family in Highland Perthshire. As well as managing livestock, he has experience in forestry, deer management and aquaculture. He was recently Acting chair of the Deer Working Group, which was set up to report to Government on the steps to be taken to achieve sustainable deer management in Scotland.
    • Russell Brown farms in partnership with his wife Hilary and their two sons Robbie and Stephen. They farm over a 1000 ha of arable land in Fife and Perthshire. Russell has been the Chairman of NFUS potato working group. At present he is the Chairman of the Scottish Potato Co-op, a group of 16 potato growers who have set up the co-op to market 70,000 tonnes of fresh potatoes.
    • Robert Fleming farms near Glenluce in South-West Scotland. The farming enterprise comprises 240 ha of grassland on the coast, stocked with suckler cows, 500-800 growing cattle, 300 finishing cattle and Roussin sheep. Robert utilises a paddock grazing system, with the focus on home grown forage. Robert sits on the Simplification Taskforce for Scottish Government for CAP reform. He was a former member of the Scottish Cattle Industry Group (SCIG) for QMS, was the host farmer for Agrii’s first Forage iFarm and is a 2015 Nuffield Scholar. The title of his Nuffield study was ‘Efficiency Gains Through Improved Beef Genetics’. Robert is married to Claire and has two young children.
    • Sheila George is the Food and Environment Policy Manager at WWF Scotland.  For the last ten years, she has worked in the NGO sector on landscape-scale conservation delivery, nature-based solutions, land use and environment policy. 
    • Deborah J. Long is Chief Officer at Scottish Environment LINK, the umbrella organisation for Scotland’s environmental charities. LINK aims to conserve, protect and restore wildlife and nature; to enable access to nature and landscapes, and to defend environmental rights. Prior to this, for 14 years she was director of Plantlife in Scotland, a small NGO conserving native plants, fungi and habitats. She also ran a Europe-wide project on sustainable food growing. 
    • Dave Reay is Executive Director at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, Professor of Carbon Management at the University of Edinburgh and Director of Policy at ClimateXChange. Dave has authored over 100 articles on climate change, including 5 books including Climate-Smart Food and is also an advisor for the Scottish Government on rural policy and climate change. His latest project involves managing his farm on the West Coast of Scotland to sequester a lifetime's carbon emissions. 
    • Pete Ritchie is Executive Director of Nourish Scotland, which he co-founded in 2013. He also runs Whitmuir Organics with his wife and business partner Heather Anderson and is a trustee of the Food Ethics Council. Pete is a first-generation farmer and was previously founder and director of Scottish Human Services.
    • Geoff Simm is Director of the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security at the University of Edinburgh. This is one of five Global Academies that aim to galvanize interdisciplinary teaching, research and translation on key global challenges. Geoff’s research is in sustainable farm animal breeding and sustainable agri-food systems. He is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.
    • Sarah Skerratt is the Director of Programmes at the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Previously she was Professor of Rural Society and Policy Director of Policy Engagement at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). For 30+ years, Sarah has researched rural community resilience, empowerment and disempowerment; poverty; leadership; and broadband. She has recently focused on rural mental health, working with the national charity Support in Mind Scotland. 
    • Philip Sleigh farms, in partnership with his wife Gill, in the North East of Scotland, 350 acres of crops, and run a 450-sow unit, all progeny finished on farm. He is a past board member of NFUS, and at present sits on the board of Scottish Pig Producers, and on the board of QMS.
    • John Smith and his wife Ruth John Smith and his wife Ruth run a herd of pedigree Holsteins rearing replacements and some dairy beef on a predominant grass-based system on the Kintyre peninsula.  A past chair of Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs and more recently spent 7 years on NFUS board of directors chairing the legal and technical committee for 5years and Milk committee for 2 years.
    • Steven Thomson is a Senior Agricultural Economist with over 25 years of experience in agricultural and rural policy analysis and has been involved in assessing agricultural change, particularly in reference to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), for a number of years. 
    • Secretariat: Keesje Avis is clerk of the Farming 1.5 Inquiry, employed by Nourish Scotland.  Ruth Taylor is Climate Change Policy Manager for NFU Scotland.  They can be contacted at: Keesje Avis 07940 351618 or and Ruth Taylor 07827 910593 or


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 146/20

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About The Author

Bob Carruth

A dairy farmer’s son, I joined NFU Scotland in 1999 after 13 years as an agricultural journalist. Following spells as a regional manager and policy lead on milk, livestock and animal health and welfare, I became Communications Director in 2008.

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