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Action on GHGs builds momentum

The agricultural industry in England is making significant progress in reducing its greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions, according to a new report published today.

The Greenhouse Gas Action Plan’s (GHGAP) first progress report to Government sets out the work the industry is undertaking to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by three million tonnes of CO2 equivalents by the third carbon budget period, without compromising domestic production.

The Action Plan is making a difference by uniting the industry in key priority areas which will have a positive effect on both GHG emissions and production efficiency on farms. Agricultural levy bodies, the supply industry and advisory bodies are all collaborating to give farmers the benefit of greater consistency and clarity of messages as well as directing them to credible tools, services and contacts.

Plans are advancing for provision of an innovative pilot Farm Efficiency Hub – a reliable up-to-date electronic library service to support farm advisers in their daily work but also openly available to farmers and land managers.

Building on the GHGAP’s early momentum, the partnership has also designed the next phase Delivery Plan through to 2015, in which 25 key actions are proposed. These will include close attention to the planning of livestock health and nutrition – to achieve this, the GHGAP partners will work with the well-established Tried & Tested campaign that is already supported by joined-up industry action. This will be coupled with plans to create a training standard for farm feed advisers.

NFU Vice President and GHGAP co-chairman Adam Quinney said: “Improving efficiency, producing more with fewer resources and lower emissions is good news for farm businesses and the environment.

“During the next phase of delivery we want to work with Government to identify robust indicators of progress. Farmers and land managers need to be confident that their changes in farm practice are leading to lower emissions.”

CLA Deputy President and GHGAP co–chairman Henry Robinson said: “Avoiding harmful climate change is in the interest of everybody, including farmers and other land managers. The progress demonstrated by the industry is significant and every effort should be made by the Government to reward and encourage all land managers to ensure future emissions are not just exported to other countries.

“We are determined to show that the land sector can be part of the greenhouse gas solution.”

David Caffall, Chief Executive, Agricultural Industries Confederation, said: “AIC members who supply livestock and crop inputs represent the start of the food chain and play a major role in guiding farmers in optimising resources and inputs. We are committed to playing our part to meet the twin goals of reducing GHGs and increasing production.”

“Not only are our BASIS and FACTS advisers ready for the challenge, but the feed sector is keen to support the cause by developing a recognised training standard to embrace GHGAP aims.”

Ian Crute, AHDB Chief Scientist, said: “The great diversity of farming systems that exist in England means that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to GHG emissions reduction. However, our consortium has set out to work together to deliver consistent and integrated information to farmers and their advisers; we believe we are having success and that, with the right resources, the pilot Farm Efficiency Hub will be at the center of our longer term ambitions.

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