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New farm group to pilot climate change projects as calls grow for investment in low carbon agricultural practices

Image credit: PA

New farm group to pilot climate change projects as calls grow for investment in low carbon agricultural practices

The Scottish Government’s Farming for a Better Climate programme (FFBC) is to be refocused on projects aimed at mitigating the impacts of climate change and develop low carbon, sustainable practices within the industry, ministers have confirmed.

The move, announced by Rural Affairs Minister, Mairi Gougeon, will see the launch of a new group of farmers established to trail and develop ideas on farms, backed by £130k of government funding for the next three years.

Gougeon said: “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.

“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.”

Last week, following the launch of a new report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) that claimed that Scotland could achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) called for Scotland’s farmers and crofters to be viewed as “part of the solution” to the problem of climate change and for greater government investment to enable the industry to develop and take-up low carbon practices.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick raised concerns that the existing FFBC programme had  been “significantly under-resourced”, and the way that agriculture was represented in the greenhouse gas inventory ignored “the key environmental role farmers and crofters in Scotland provide”.

McCornick said: “Reducing agricultural emissions in Scotland will be fundamentally challenging to businesses but need not be at the expense of producing food, cutting livestock numbers or exporting our emissions by relying on food imports.

"If net zero targets are to be laid in legislation, there is now an opportunity for government and organisations to work together to set the agenda.”

Read the most recent article written by Peter Urpeth - Brexit means the rural economy must change

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