North East members gear up for net zero ELMs Test and Trial

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Following Defra’s approval of the NFU’s ELMs net zero Test and Trial (T&T), dates have been put in the diary for the North East workshop. Here, North East assistant environment adviser Kate Adams caught up with some of the participants. She writes:

The participants are a mix of landowners and tenants, representing the wide range of sectors in the North East including arable, livestock, organic, poultry and dairy.

The focus for this T&T is net zero and the NFU aims to demonstrate that it will be important for ELMs to provide support for farmers in their transition to net zero, with the inclusion of a broad range of activities, including productivity measures. You can read more about the T&T here.

With such a diverse range of land and farming in the region, farmers are uniquely placed to implement a range of strategies to help achieve net zero. Members are looking forward to seeing if and how greenhouse gas (GHG) calculators can work for them, and how they can use this information to produce a land management plan which will be important in ELMs. It can also support the great work they are already doing to reduce emissions and be more environmentally friendly. One member has the specific goal of becoming carbon negative by 2027, whil others are keen to increase their net zero knowledge and determine if the measures they are already implementing are effective.

What do the participants have to say?

Campaign for the Farmed Environment North Yorkshire regional coordinator and mixed farm owner Fraser Hugill stated:

“It’s great to be involved with the work the NFU are undertaking on Net Zero to help us better understand our GHG baseline. I am keen to understand how measures we are undertaking to hopefully improve our business and biodiversity performance, such as direct drilling, herbal leys and hedgerow management also impact on our GHG footprint.”

David Shaw of J L Shaw & Son has never used a GHG calculator before. But he is already making positive strides in reducing plastic use by providing reusable glass milk bottles to the public. He added:

“We are trying to improve our GHG footprint, but the problem is we don’t know how to measure it. We are making changes on the farm by changing soya to modified rape meal and introducing reusable glass milk bottles, but we want to understand how effective these measures are. We are very much looking forward to learning more about the calculators and are keen to get started.”

Rachel Hallos, a cattle and sheep farmer based in West Yorkshire added:

“We are hoping to find out our GHG baseline and how we can improve this to protect for the future. We want to know what GHGs we are emitting, what we can do to reduce this and how we can adapt our farming methods to make the most of carbon sequestration.”

How are British farmers tackling the net zero challenge:

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