The environment is an ever-increasing consideration for farmers, with payments favouring practices to benefit wildlife, water and carbon sequestration. And visitors to the Midlands Machinery Show on 9-10 November can find out how to make steps towards net zero as well as the opportunities available.
NFU East Midlands is holding its annual environment conference entitled, ‘Carbon – opportunity, not problem’ on the first day of the Midlands Machinery Show. Covering a range of technical topics from carbon audits to practical sequestration options, the seminar programme is sure to provide something for everyone, says show manager Elizabeth Halsall. “It’s a great opportunity to hear from farmers taking active steps towards reducing their carbon footprint and quiz speakers on how to make net zero work on their own farm.”
NFU vice president Tom Bradshaw says: “The conference is taking place in the week of COP 26; we’re picking up the net zero challenge and exploring how we, as an industry, can lead the way in helping to get towards net zero.
Farmers need to be world leaders
“We need to improve our productivity to reduce our environmental footprint – and farmers need to be world leaders in terms of carbon footprint. Feeding the population is always going to have an impact, we’re never going to produce food without having any emissions whatsoever, but we need to minimise that impact.”
Carbon calculators can be the first step on the net zero road, and will be the focus of a seminar by NFU livestock advisor, Harriet Henrick. “Everyone’s net zero journey has to start somewhere, but for most that can seem pretty daunting in itself,” she says.
“I hope to do a bit of myth busting and talk people through what different calculators have to offer and which one might be right for you – depending on your available information and what you want out of it.” The main calculators being discussed will be the Cool Farm Tool, Farm Carbon Calculator and AgreCalc; these are all free and available to anyone, although she will touch on some paid for options.
“I believe there are options out there to meet most farmers’ needs, however, these calculators are constantly being updated to account for innovations and new technology in the industry. At the end of the day the volume of CO2 equivalent emitted per kg of product isn’t the most important part; highlighting areas where changes can be made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on farm is.”
Two farmers will also offer their perspectives on how the process towards net zero actually works on their livestock and arable farms, respectively.
Carbon offsetting could provide new income opportunities and is the subject of the final seminar by Bruno Gardner, managing director of NFU Enzero. “Net zero represents a fantastic opportunity for agriculture, with farmers and growers brilliantly placed to both contribute to and benefit from the transition,” says Mr Gardner.
“Investing in renewable energy makes increasingly good business sense and is a great way to reduce carbon emissions. Demand for carbon offsets looks set to grow, and agriculture could be well placed to meet this demand,” he adds “I’ll share our latest thinking on the potential opportunities for farmers, as well as the key risks and uncertainties they need to be aware of.”
Following the sustainable theme, visitors have a chance to see some electric machinery in action in the Clean Power demo ring, says Mrs Halsall. “Visitors can learn about the aspects of net zero then head to our demo ring to see how it works in practice.”
- The Midlands Machinery Show takes place on 9-10 November at Newark Showground. Entry is free but advanced registration is essential. For more information or to pre-register for your fast-tracked entry, visitmidlandsmachineryshow.com.
- Booking for the NFU East Midlands Environment Conference is essential, call 01572 824250 or firstname.lastname@example.org