John Davies: Climate change is very likely to dominate our thoughts over the coming decade

THE latest email from the editor asked for the deadline date to be brought forward a few weeks. Normally I’m a few days late filing, so this was fair revenge.

She also asked if I could look at what may be the challenges and opportunities we’re likely to face during the next decade.

The topic of climate change is going to really influence what and how we do things in the next 10 years. With a fast-growing world population who want a better diet, the challenge will be to produce more for less.

When politicians and bean-eaters met in Copenhagen in December, I heard there was more farting going on than in our top cattle shed. As you have guessed, I am not an organic fan.

Home food production will play a more important role than in the recent past, with a more uncertain food security situation due to increased demand and more volatile weather patterns.

With livestock, our mainly grass-based systems are well placed but let’s recognise we have to be more self-sufficient. For instance, we cannot justify the destruction of rainforests for soya production. The latest grassland techniques and varieties must be fully utilised.

Another exciting opportunity will be the growing of grass for fuel - rumoured to be about five years away. This would only see us back to where we once were - one-third of the ground being used to grow food to provide feed for the horse power. Farm-based AD power plants will be more widespread: they consistently deliver win-win outcomes.

Next we have power-generation. Every valley used to have watermills along their rivers and hydro is only just starting to be rediscovered. This sector will grow with increased rainfall.

If we can get a small turbine sorted, for once, I may be able to agree with that infuriating ‘we like the rain in Wales’ advert.

From a more personal point of view, I’d like to see the children well educated and grasping every opportunity. Our challenge is to create a business which they will want to be part of. However, it’s important they do what they want in later life, too.

Happy New Year to you all!

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