A new farmer-led initiative to drive carbon-negative, environmentally restorative farming practices in Scotland has been launched.
Under reforms to the Farming For a Better Climate (FFBC) program, a new group will be established to trail and develop ideas on farms which could provide practical, innovative solutions to help restore the global climate.
Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon made the announcement while visiting Hugh Black’s farm (one of the farmers participating in the group) in Forfar, saying “As we face a climate emergency, it is more vital than ever that farmers and crofters move towards a low-carbon, environmentally sustainable future by adapting to the changing climate and securing their business viability for generations to come.”
“So while Farming For a Better Climate has been a success, it is now time to reform and encourage farmers to act collaboratively to ensure the future success of the industry. In line with the recommendations of our Agricultural Champions, I am confirming that FFBC will be refocused on soil regenerative agriculture, including soil, fertiliser, manure management, carbon sequestration and more,” she added. “As no two farms are the same, I am moving the system away from focussing on the individual to one of collective collaboration, maximising the opportunity for testing innovative solutions in a variety of situations. This is a really exciting initiative, which I look forward to seeing develop and prosper in the months ahead.”
Hugh Black explained, “The group that have come together for this project very interestingly have different enterprises and crops but we all share the same challenges and recognise the need to gather more learning around soils and how best to manage them. I see it as a learning journey of a group of mixed ages, experience and regions but led with an open mind set and eagerness to excel. I expect to have open discussions around what we do and intend to grow our knowledge together and help develop the understanding for all in Scottish agriculture.”
Farming for a Better Climate was established in 2009 with a remit to demonstrate and disseminate information on practical low carbon farming practices based on interacting with individual farmers.
In February of 2019, four young farmers and crofters were appointed to champion a cultural and behavioral shift towards regenerative agriculture in Scotland. The Young Farmer Climate Change Champions will work through peer-to-peer learning to highlight how farmers can improve efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce costs, and enhance the sustainability of their businesses.
They were Aimee and Kirsty Budge (Bigton farm, Shetland); Lynn Cassells and Sandra Baer (Lynbreck Croft, Cairngorms); Robert Fleming (Castle Sinniness Farm, Galloway); and Bryce Cunningham (Mossgiel Farm, Ayrshire).
Photo courtesy of Scotland’s Rural Affairs agency.