Man with umbrella in rain weather

Like everyone else who’s been following the impact of Storm Desmond these past few days, my heart goes out to everyone affected by the flooding in Cumbria and beyond – not least the farmers who are battling to save not only their homes but also their livestock.

It is almost unfathomable that Cumbria is facing such devastation just six years after the 2009 flooding that was dubbed a “once in a 1,000-year event” by then-environment secretary Hilary Benn.

Unsurprisingly, these latest floods have provoked anger over government cuts to flood defence spending, which has been falling since 2010 despite recognition that the UK is at high risk of further floods.

But the arrival of Storm Desmond should also raise questions about the wider impact of climate change on our lives – and our food.

The NFU warned just last week that food production was at risk from severe weather in line with climate change predictions – with over half its members surveyed admitting their businesses had already been affected.

The union’s warning of further “tempest, flood and drought” seemed a bit dramatic at the time, but has proved to be frighteningly accurate.

Climate change is making its impact felt in other ways too. As we reported last week, fruit and vegetable growers are warning even less dramatic shifts in weather can have a big impact on food production – with a cooler spring and warmer autumn playing havoc with crops this year.

As the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference kicks off in Paris, let’s hope the government starts taking the threat of climate change seriously and comes up with a more robust plan of how it will deal with the reality of extreme weather events.

David Cameron is telling the nation he is taking “another look” at flood defences, but it will take a lot more than that to make sure our food supply chain remains resilient and viable in the future.