ScienceFuture of UK farming up for grabs ahead of...

Future of UK farming up for grabs ahead of government land use plan

A fierce debate is taking place over the future of the UK farming, and how to feed people while fixing the biodiversity and climate crises


20 June 2022

sheep in Devon, UK

Scotch Blackface sheep grazing on Dartmoor in southwest England

Peter Titmuss/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It started innocuously, with some tweeted photos of livestock amid bucolic-looking Cumbrian countryside and an account of how many birds lived there. Within hours, a full-blown Twitter spat was underway between farmer James Rebanks, who posted the photos, and the environmentalist George Monbiot. Academics, ecologists and others piled in to cite scientific papers to argue whether grazing land with sheep and cattle is better for biodiversity or if it’s best to hand grasslands back to nature.

The case exemplifies a fierce …

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