Farmers ‘must build evidence base’ on climate change, say experts

Carbon capture will be one of the key ways farmers can help combat climate change Picture: CRAIG ST

Carbon capture will be one of the key ways farmers can help combat climate change Picture: CRAIG STEPHEN - Credit: Archant

Land managers are starting to take steps to calculate their carbon emissions as the farming industry positions itself to become part of the solution to climate change, an East Anglian conference heard.

Farmers and landowners at CLA East's carbon accounting event in Peterborough Picture: CLA

Farmers and landowners at CLA East's carbon accounting event in Peterborough Picture: CLA - Credit: Archant

A carbon accounting seminar - organised by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) - offered practical advice on how land managers can start measuring and reducing on-farm carbon emissions.

CLA Suffolk chairman Ben Crossman, who is estate manager at Orwell Park Estates, at Nacton, near Ipswich, said it was an area the sector needed to look at.

MORE - Brexit and how farmers can survive it: how the next 11 months will shape the sector'Carbon accounting is a very important part of what we are looking at in the future and when you mix that up with the natural capital services we've got to provide as farmers and landowners going forward, it is something we are all going to have to consider,' he said.

The UK is the first major economy in the world to put a climate change target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 into legislation - setting a challenge for those who must deliver practical solutions.

The CLA event, held at Peterborough and attended by farmers throughout the East Anglia, highlighted an opportunity for the agricultural industry to how it can be part of the solution by producing high-quality food while cutting emissions and taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.


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Delegates were shown the basics of on-farm carbon accounting, recommended a number of calculating tools available for land managers and provided guidance on how to interpret the results.

The seminar also looked at how different management practices can help reduce emissions for a variety of farm systems.

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CLA climate change adviser Alice Ritchie who specialises in environmental law, said: 'I think it's really important with climate change rapidly moving up the government's agenda and across public consciousness that we show that farmers really are part of the solution.

'If you can't measure it, you can't manage it, so it's important that farmers start looking at their carbon account and consider how they could reduce their emissions. They should also be thinking about areas of their land where they could start sequestering carbon as it can make a massive difference overall.

'We want to help farmers and land managers to build an evidence base to show all the great work they are doing and demonstrate why they are such a vital asset in tackling climate change.'

Heather Webb, environmental consultant for Promar International, said: 'Carbon accounting is an essential tool that farmers can use to implement changes on their farms.'

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