- Evaluation and explanation of available carbon footprinting tools for use on farm
- Provision of an online, user friendly benchmarking facility to aid farmers and growers in improving farming practice to reduce emissions
- Technical guidance documents on a variety of relevant low carbon farming topics
- Case studies to exemplify best practice and innovative low carbon farming techniques
- Signposting to high quality low carbon and renewable energy advice, information services and grants
- Workshops at the Soil Association Conference
Key areas of work
Carbon footprint calculation
Determining the carbon footprint of your farm business is a valuable first step in assessing the impact of the farm in terms of both greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, as identifying the scale and source of emissions helps identify ways to reduce them. There are a number of accounting tools currently available, all varying in their approach to the calculation. We will be assessing a selection of tools and providing a practical evaluation of them, which will clearly highlight the differences and pro’s and con’s of each tool in relation to farming systems enabling you to make an informed decision as to which tool you should use.
Following on from this initial review we plan to establish a low carbon benchmarking facility. This carbon benchmarking tool will enable users to assess their current farm practice in relation to greenhouse gas emissions and monitor improvement as management is adapted to reduce emissions and increase carbon sequestration.
Technical advice and support
Support and technical information for farmers and growers will be available on the Soil Association website, focused in three key areas – farming practice and techniques; energy and resource efficiency; and renewable energy opportunities.
Farming practice and energy and resource efficiency
The adaptation and fine tuning of management practice can significantly reduce emissions and optimise production efficiency. Our technical support will help producers to reduce nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide and methane through the careful management of soil, livestock, nutrients and fertility, and manure. Working with our project partners, Campden BRI, we will produce a number of case studies to demonstrate how certain techniques and practices can be implemented and bring about real results. We are keen to show that simple practices can have a significant impact by reducing energy use and minimising a farm’s carbon footprint.
Renewable energy opportunities
Renewable energy is a hot topic with ever-growing interest in both renewable energy and heat production on farm. Through our project we will provide support and guidance on aspects of renewable energy including signposting to expert advice and available funding. Our case studies will also look at renewable energy installations on farm and their potential to reduce GHG emissions and provide additional income streams.
On-farm training events
We'll be holding a number of free on-farm training events across the country with expert speakers and farm tours covering a range of topics to promote and discuss low carbon farming practices, energy and resource use and renewable energy. We want to establish learning networks to enable farmers and growers to learn from each other and share knowledge. We are planning four events this autumn – call 0117 314 5127 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest and to receive further updates.
The Low Carbon Project, is funded until June 2013 by the South West Rural Development Programme for England.
The project is one of three sub projects within the South West Agricultural Resource Management (SWARM) Knowledge Hub - a new RDPE funded web information service dedicated to south west farmers and growers coordinated by Duchy College.
The project will be carried out in the South West in partnership with Campden BRI. Campden BRI are the UK’s largest independent membership-based organisation carrying out research and development for the food and drinks industry
Thanks to additional funding from the Ashden Trust the Soil Association will also be working on a wider basis across the UK.