Farmers can make an informed decision on how to assess their carbon footprint

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Innovation for Agriculture (IfA) has launched a pilot carbon decision support tool which farmers can use to select the most appropriate carbon assessment for their business.

Head of technical development at IfA, Stephen Briggs, explains that the tool has been developed in response to the increasing demand on both the farming and supply chain sectors to understand their carbon footprint.

“Farmers are under pressure to provide information on the carbon footprint of their business and to show how they are progressing towards reaching net zero emissions,” he says.

“It’s generally accepted that you must be able to measure something to manage it, but there are approximately 35 tools or platforms that can be used to measure carbon in farm businesses.

“The tools vary in terms of to what extent they ask about livestock enterprises, the management practices they incorporate into their calculations and whether they focus on emissions only or sequestration too, so it’s difficult to know where to start,” he adds.

Mr. Briggs explains that the carbon decision support tool compares the three most commonly used platforms for measuring carbon in UK farm businesses – Farm Carbon Calculator, Cool Farm Tool and Agrecalc.

“It asks a series of yes/no and multiple choice questions and the results indicate which carbon assessment tool will be most relevant to your farm business based on the enterprises you have, your farm management practices and the data you have available to input,” he says.

Free and independent tool

Stephen Briggs

“It’s essentially a free and independent tool which can help identify which carbon assessment is most relevant to your farm business. It’s worth adding that once you’ve selected a tool and completed a carbon assessment, it’s best to use the same one for any future assessments to ensure the results are comparable.”

The current pilot version of the tool was produced using funding from FAIRshare and reflects the versions of all three tools as of April 2023.

“We have the ambition to add more platforms into the tool, and to continue to update it in line with any platform updates.”

The tool can be accessed via the IfA website:

“I would encourage any farmer considering undertaking a carbon assessment for the first time to use the tool to help their decision between carbon assessment platforms,” concludes Mr. Briggs.

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