WORRIED farmers and landowners brought their fears for the present and hopes for the future to the Great Yorkshire Show, amid warnings a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster for the agricultural industry.

The Harrogate showground played host to industry leaders, who revealed how they are working with scientists to combat climate change, and achieve zero emissions .

They also spoke about the political turmoil of Brexit, with NFU President Minette Batters expecting a fraught period until the October deadline.

When asked if there should be a general election, she said: “They will walk us to the cliff edge, there is every chance we will have one in the autumn and to my mind it is needed.

“At best Brexit presents a new opportunity at worst it could mean the importing of food that would be illegal here.

"We must not leave without a deal, it would be disastrous.”

Ms Batters said the NFU is working with scientists on the role farmers can play in achieving zero emissions. “It has to be the best of British science and the best of British farming," she said.

"We must look to science for the answers. They are there if the government can create the right conditions. Farming, food and science – we could be world leaders in promoting this.”

Environmental scientist Meg Lewis from Sheffield University said they are working on improving food production, tackling flooding and developments including creating fertiliser pellets from captured CO2 emissions – but millions of pounds of EU funding is at risk. “This comes at a time when we have 11 years to prevent climate breakdown. Globally we need to double the amount of calories produced from agriculture without using more land,” she said.

Sarah Hendry, director general of the County Land and Business Association said the industry has to grasp net zero emissions as an opportunity rather than view it as a threat. “Agriculture is responsible for around ten per cent of CO2 emissions," she said. "We need to be looking at carbon capture, tree planting and tourism. Is livestock the problem or the solution?

"We have to ask what else can convert grass into food."