AN ABERGELE farmer has added his voice to industry leaders across the UK to help seize the opportunity created by Brexit for more environmentally friendly farming.

Gethin Owen, a cattle and sheep farmer from Nant-yr-Efail, joined with more than 100 farmers to launch the Nature Friendly Farming Network to discuss avoiding a damaging “race to the bottom” post-Brexit in environmental practices and promote more sustainable approach.

Mr Owen said: “Like it or not, Brexit is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for agricultural policy to be created by UK government, tailor-made for UK agriculture.

“The last two generations may have become used to ‘nature-unfriendly’ farming and accept it as the norm. In the future, there will be no Communal Agricultural Practice, or one-size-fits-all EU policy, to blame for the degradation of the environment and loss of nature.”

Mr Owen joined his peers at the national Real Farming Conference in Oxford on Thursday, January 5 to urge restraint and drive home the importance of more ecological practices in new regulations in the wake of Britain leaving European Union regulations.

Mr Owen said: “Certain sectors may potentially lose a large portion of their customer base due to imposition of tariffs, while other sectors may lose the workforce required to get stuff done.

“Another threat may be a new race to the bottom in terms of standards, to satisfy society’s demand for cheap food.

“I support nature friendly farming partly because it makes economic sense. I believe that there is an opportunity for every farmer to create more space for nature without any extra cost or effort."

Mr Owen's eco farming methods earned his 300 acre farm an award in 2011, from the Nature of Farming Awards, for his green approach, including planting hedgerows to provide a habitat for wildlife and also a sustainable source of firewood.

The farmer has also planted red and white clover, which sustainably enriches the soil, and legumes to provide feed for livestock and to reduce dependence on damaging nitrogen-based products.

Mr Owen added: “The key to viability is to be as self-sufficient as possible, producing as much of your own food, bedding and fuel as possible buying in as little of the inputs as is possible.

“This naturally leads to an ecologically diverse system.”