Great Yorkshire Show: How climate change is threatening the farming industry

The National Farmers Union is pressing the government and water companies to do more to protect their crops against the effects of climate change.

Farmers have warned that current crops could fail, livestock could be put at risk and wildfires could wreak havoc on the industry if significant planning for an increase in temperature and greater threat of floods is not put in place.

James Johnson, a 28-year-old farmer from North Yorkshire, has already seen the effect that climate change has had on his land.

"I can't remember a year that's been absolutely to plan," he said.

"We had the beat from the east, we've had extreme droughts like we had last year, we had extreme wet periods during the winter previous, when we were drilling corn, so we're having to change the way our farming calendar works.

"Since I've been home 7 years now working on the farm, and I don't think one year's been the same."

James is also the face of a future farming forecast by the National Farmers Union that shows how temperatures are expected to rise in the UK up to 2050.

They predict that soaring temperatures will see farmers have to work at night; contend with periods of drought and wildfires and change the kind of crops that the UK produces.

James said: "Air conditioning units for cattle housing, you've got to think of the cost implications of all that as well, I mean we'd have to start running electricity for cattle housing and air conditioning units, it's a lot to get your head around.

"Olive harvest, that could be a thing of the future, we could have more grapevines and mango trees and those sorts of things.

"We do have soil and if there's climate change we can grow many different things, but the idea is we don't really want the climate to change."

Credit: ITV News

The NFU's forecast imagines a so-called 'super reservoir' in the Washburn valley in Nidderdale - currently home to the Swinsty and Fewston reservoirs - they're urging the government and utility companies to invest in similar water management projects.

James Copeland, from the NFU, said: "I think the examples that we've given are examples that are seeing across Europe, so we are seeing collaboration between the farming industry and water companies to create large storage areas for the storage of water so that everybody can share that.

"And the important point is the water network is used both for agriculture and for industry and for the water companies as well for public water supply, so holistically if we can come together and we can make that strategic investment for the benefit of all, then that's what we're looking for and that's the types of themes that we're trying to get people to think about with this weather forecast."

Yorkshire Water has said that they are looking at the issue and at how they can use reservoirs to reduce the risk of flooding in areas such as the Calder Valley.

The Environment Secretary, George Eustice, was at the Great Yorkshire Show today and said that he believed the government was doing enough to tackle climate change.

He said: "We are working on some plans about how we can achieve net-zero and agriculture has a role to play in that.

"Ten per cent of our greenhouse gases come from agriculture. There are a number of interesting technologies such as new feed additives that can cut methane greenhouse gases from livestock by about thirty per cent.

"We have got big ambitions to increase our woodland creation and peatland restoration all of which will contribute to reducing climate change emissions."

He did, however, admit that the processes will take time, as trees need to reach 20 years before they can hold Carbon Dioxide.