By Nick Meo, PA News
The Prince of Wales said today he believed agriculture had "lost its soul",
but could be saved by organic farming.
He spoke of his sympathy for Britain's small farmers and rural communities
struggling to survive - and warned of the dangers of rushing into genetic
crop- farming - when he opened a university research centre.
The prince, who has farmed his Highgrove estate in Gloucestershire
organically for seven years, made his call at the opening of the 5 million
Aberdeen University Centre for Organic Agriculture.
The prince, who was later today expected to meet Scottish National Party
leader Alex Salmond for a private meeting, told his audience: "I believe
agriculture lost its soul.
"Organic farming can put its soul back."
Farm management required "a bit of science and a great deal of art," and
the prince said: "It would be a tragedy of immense proportions if we
repeated the same mistake and became obsessed with genetic crops only to
learn our mistake in 30 years' time."
He added: "We have treated the land and animals as machines. Hopefully we
will learn from our mistakes before it becomes too late.
"The demand for organic produce is a consequence of great concerns over
modern scientific farming."
Addressing an audience of farmers, scientists and academics, the Prince
spoke of the crisis facing small farmers, and his particular concern at the
plight of livestock farmers.
And he warned that Scotland's rural culture was at stake.
"I hope this centre can provide help to those farmers who are struggling to
"The demand for organic produce is at an all-time high. There are real
opportunities for farmers at a time other avenues are becoming
He said the arguments for organic farming were not just economic, but
across a whole range of environmental benefits. "I believe they will become
more and more apparent as time goes on."
Warning of a "catastrophic decline" in once-common farmland birds like
skylark, red partridge and lapwing and tree-sparrows, he lamented: "We grew
up with sparrows everywhere. Now you rarely see them.
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with "unsubscribe sanet-mg".
To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command