The government has today (Thursday, January 27) launched the UK Agriculture Partnership (UKAP), a new forum which will bring together stakeholders from across the UK to identify and improve collaborative working on shared issues facing the agricultural sector.

Discussions will explore topics such as on-farm water usage optimisation, the role of science and agri-tech in supporting food production and solutions to reduce pollution and carbon emissions in the sector.

The objective of the UKAP is to provide a space to address challenges and ideas, hear from researchers about said issues, share findings from across the UK - hearing directly from farmers, land managers, stakeholders and industry - and build connections and a greater flow of information across the UK, as well as shining the light on the most pressing issues.

The first meeting of the UKAP will take place today at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, and will focus on water quality.

Attendees will hear from a range of experts who will set out the challenges the UK is facing, and discuss solutions for improving water quality across the agriculture sector.

Today's attendees include researchers, water body representatives, farming organisations, NGOs, as well as the Northern Ireland Executive Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots.

Commenting on the forum, Poots said:

"Our agriculture sector has shared issues across the United Kingdom so I hope that this forum provides a platform for collaboration and information sharing from all parts of the United Kingdom in the future."

Also attending the first meeting is Wales Office Minister, David TC Davies, who said he is "delighted" to be a part of the forum.

“Agriculture is a vital sector in Wales and it will only be strengthened by collaborating with experts and partners across the UK, and making sure the voice of Welsh farmers is heard.

"This is a great opportunity to exchange ideas and expertise and forge new partnerships, ensuring that the issues faced by farmers are tackled together.”