Low Carbon Farming Project

Objectives

  • To create farmers practitioner learning networks which facilitate best practice in low carbon farming through peer to peer support
  • To provide good quality information (including case studies), tools and signposting to support these networks
  • To disseminate project outcomes particularly in the south west but also as widely as possible across the UK

Activities

  • Produce high quality and evolving case studies to exemplify best practice.  These case studies will cover a range of agricultural and horticultural enterprises.
  • Run low carbon workshops to pull together exemplars of best practice, assess farmer need, carry out knowledge transfer and disseminate project outcomes.
  • Assess and approve appropriate low carbon "tools" compatible with PAS 2050 for use on farm.  This will lead to the production of a user friendly method of assessing continuous improvement on farms against yield, carbon footprint, sustainability and turnover.
  • Collate farmer feedback from a user friendly carbon foot printing exercise to develop a benchmarking facility.
  • Run small on farm training courses across the UK.
  • Signpost farmers to high quality low carbon advice and information services and grants through web information, telephone help line and through regional rural support services.
  • Develop on-line networking for farmers

The project will make every effort to include as many conventional farmers in networking, training and dissemination.

Outcomes

By the end of the project the following outcomes will have been achieved:

  • Case study information with regular updates
  • Web information established (with interaction where possible)
  • Training / networking events
  • Direct training for producer participants
  • On- line / phone support for participants
  • Tried and tested user friendly toolkit/s available for general farmer use including a guidance document on carbon foot-printing in farming
  • Demonstrable improvement in carbon balance on participant farms, with associated reduction in diffuse pollution.
  • A lobby to achieve policy change in order to further facilitate improvement in on farm low carbon performance.

Potential environmental and climate change impact

An improvement in low carbon status on participating farms will be attained over the lifespan of the projects by implementing and linking a variety of innovative techniques focusing on the following areas:

  • reduce use of fossil fuels on farm, by reducing energy requirements and the use of inputs, through improved systems and renewable on farm technologies.
  • naturally improve soil fertility and reduce flooding and erosion, by increasing organic matter, nitrogen fixation and water retention in soils
  • increase the carbon fixing capacity of the farm through maximising carbon sequestration in the soil, crops, woodland and waterways; thus becoming a carbon sink rather than source
  • reducing the impact of livestock on GHG emissions, through evaluating and implementing different systems, breeding and management regimes
  • optimising soil quality and nutrients, make more of manure and composted material, trialing and evaluating different crop varieties
  • reducing waste, by reducing packaging and increasing the use of recyclable packaging
  • improving local food supply chain efficiency, exploring and setting up alternative distribution and marketing models within the business
  • attendant improvements in biodiversity and human resource management through adopting more sustainable and holistic methods.

Interested in taking part? Please visit the website or email sadams@soilassociaton.org for more information.

Why does it matter Get Involved

Get Involved with Carbon Footprinting on your Farm

The Farm Carbon Assessment Tool (FCAT) has now been launched. FCAT is an online carbon calculator with a difference; it provides farmers with an instant report on the carbon footprint of current activities in relation to best practices.

The report then links directly to over 20 factsheets on low carbon farming methods. The user can select the factsheet according to the area highlighted for improvement by the FCAT.

A carbon assessment tool is a beneficial way for farmers to calculate their greenhouse gas emissions per farming activity. The results often highlight areas where improvements or changes can be made reducing your carbon footprint, saving valuable resources and improving the overall efficiency of the farm.

To access the tool please click here.

Why should farmers get involved in the project?

Climate change is a very real issue facing farmers and growers, the indications we’re seeing already are just the tip of the iceberg unless we act now
We can’t stop climate change but we can take measures to lessen the blow
  • Reducing greenhouse has emissions will help stabilise the greenhouse effect and slow global climate change
Carbon foot printing is a vital first step in understanding farm emissions
  • We’ll do then for free! No consultancy fees
Benchmarking will give farmers an indication of the level of action they need to take – the “average” farm needs to reduce by 6% by 2020
Adoption of low C farming practices, involves improving and optimising production – potentially big cost savings to be made
The GHG Action plan is currently industry led and not regulated
  • However the government has stated that if targets are not met they will intervene and emission reduction will become legislated

Carbon footprint calculators

Contact Details

Tim Bevan
Soil Association
South Plaza
Malborough Street
Bristol
BS1 3NX
t: 0117 9142400
e: producer.support@soilassocation
.org

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