“The farming lobby has wrecked efforts to defend our soil”. That was the title of a blog posted on The Guardian website by George Monbiot, last Thursday.

The blog was referring to the National Farmers Union’s successful efforts to prevent the passing of an EU directive that was to set out a framework to protect our soils.

Whilst there has been much rejoicing at the successful blocking of yet more ‘red tape’ that threatened to strangle farmers, are we really doing enough to protect such a vital resource? I won’t repeat what George Monbiot had to say – to my mind he has a pretty good grasp of what is going on and you can read his blog here.

It is important to understand that farmers don’t generally have scant regard for the health and wellbeing of their soils, many of us just don’t understand them that well. One of the main reasons for this apparent disregard for the ‘dirt’ is that, for too long, we have been sold nutrients for crops and livestock in bags and have lost touch with the workings of the living environment beneath our feet. Unfortunately, farming systems have been moulded by commercial interests (companies seeking to make profit from farmers), in much the same way that our diet has been manipulated by those processing our food to make profit from it.

Free Range Dairy is forging links with soil experts to share knowledge about the environmental and economic value of healthy soils in producing healthy milk and dairy. If there is no legislation to safeguard our soils then there is a much greater onus on farmers to adopt responsible management practices. Once again it is about taking responsibility and I hope the NFU’s will now take some positive action to ensure our soils are protected.


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