Shropshire Star

Lloyds Banking Group supports call for long-term strategy at farming summit

The head of agriculture at Lloyds Banking Group has appealed for a strategy on how farmers can protect and restore nature, while boosting their food production.

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Lee Reeves, Lloyds Bank head of agriculture

The second ‘Farm to Fork’ summit in Downing Street took place this week, where the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addressed 100 industry leaders and senior government ministers.

Lloyds Banking Group was represented by head of agriculture Lee Reeves who, in a focused breakout session, discussed the need for the creation of a clear, long-term strategy for the sector.

“This year, the emphasis and discussion shifted from sustainability and net zero emissions towards building resilience, productivity, and efficiency from the perspective of our farmers," Mr Reeves said.

Issues such as UK-grown raw materials, labour shortages, complex policies, and enhancing consumer involvement in the agricultural cycle, were discussed.

Mr Reeves highlighted that Lloyds Banking Group, within their five policy asks, has been calling for a strategy that sets out how farmers can both decarbonise and protect and restore nature, while boosting their food production.

This would give farmers the clarity and certainty they need to make longer-term plans, helping them to build robustness into their businesses and lay the groundwork for growth.

“More support needs to come from the supply chain to make regenerative practices a reality,” he said.

“At the moment there’s a big gap between the profits which many farmers used to generate with the inclusion of BPS, to what we’re now seeing with ELMs, and as farmers are struggling to plug that gap, many are becoming vulnerable.”

Mr Reeves acknowledged that the supply chain is already investing in small projects and mechanisms to try to support this, but they typically have a singular, sector-specific, or management-practice focus.

“We’re calling for joined-up action that brings the supply chain together to create a whole farm approach which drives more sustainable practices and makes farms more resilient for the future.”

Lloyds Banking Group is supporting farmers in calling for standardised farm tool measurement methodologies that aid identifying cost-cutting strategies, boosting productivity, and accessing new income streams from environmental markets. These tools are part of a broader suite of resources aimed at empowering farmers to navigate the complexities of modern agriculture effectively.

Mr Reeves added: “We’re committed to providing farmers with the clarity and certainty they require to develop plans that lead to lower-emission, higher-productivity businesses.

“We believe that our role extends beyond financing; it's about facilitating a sustainable and prosperous future for all facets of the UK agricultural industry.”

He added that by saying that it was refreshing to see agriculture and food security discussed at such a high-profile event and the summit was a positive forum for British farming.

“It was a great opportunity to represent our farming customers and voice our policy asks,” he said.

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