2014-06-03  

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Next Round of Farming for a Better Climate Launched

The next round of Farming for a Better Climate, a scheme to help farmers reduce their carbon footprint, has been a launched with additional Government funding.

At an event on the SRUC Beef Research Unit outside Edinburgh, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead announced another £100,000 for the programme and met the next group of Climate Change Focus Farmers.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead MSP launches the next phase of the Climate Change Focus Farms programme.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead MSP launches the next phase of the Climate Change Focus Farms programme.

The previous Farming for a Better Climate initiative, launched in 2010 and administered by SRUC, resulted in lower carbon footprints and significant financial savings for the first Focus Farmers taking part.

This time the number of Focus Farms will double from four to eight. The farms identified so far are at Newmilns in Ayrshire, Mintlaw in Aberdeenshire, Glenurquhart in Invernesshire, Muir of Ord Ross-shire, and Brora in Sutherland.

As before they will welcome groups of local farmers and work together to identify efficiencies best suited to their area or type of enterprise.

The groups will be assisted by a facilitator from the SAC Consulting arm of Scotland’s Rural College and will gain from practical advice on adapting to our changing climate through better soil management and field drainage.

Speaking at the launch where he welcomed three of the new Climate Change Focus Farmers, Mr Lochhead said:
“Our climate is changing and it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to do what we can to mitigate its negative impact. The Scottish Government is firmly committed to tackling climate change and lowering overall emissions in Scotland, of which approximately a fifth is from our agriculture industry.

“In light of the previous success, I have taken the decision to increase the budget for this pioneering scheme by £100,000. With the forthcoming publication of the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme these funds will also be used to help farms adapt to our changing climate. The wetter weather we have experienced in recent years means better soil management and drainage is a must for Scottish farms. This funding will enable Scotland’s Rural College to offer more soil management and drainage demonstration events, which have been heavily oversubscribed.”

The Rural Affairs Secretary also launched the AgRE Calc new Carbon Footprint calculator developed by SAC Consulting and SRUC Research. It allows farmers to estimate their resource use and greenhouse gas emissions and helps them improve profitability and reduce their environmental impact. He added:
“My ambition is for every Scottish farm to be greener, and this AgRECalc is a free and easy-to-use online tool which will enable farmers to pin point where savings can be made.”

New Climate Change Focus Farmer, John Kerr who farms at Woodhead in Newmilns, Ayrshire, said:
“I am looking forward to being part of this project, by focusing on farm efficiency. The plan at Woodhead is to look at ways to increase the yield of the herd without compromising milk solids. We are also very interested in looking at renewable energy opportunities as we look to reduce costs and develop new income streams into the business. Hopefully this initiative will help us reduce costs, improve output and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Analysis published by SRUC last year showed that the first three Climate Change Focus Farms saved almost £60,000 between them, whilst two of the businesses reduced their carbon footprint by at least 10 per cent.

SRUC

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