An agronomist’s view on climate change – #Farm4Zero blog

As part of our #Farm4Zero campaign Future Farmer Angus Rob Daniel, pictured above, gives his perspective as an agronomist on climate change.

Carbon emissions and climate change, words and phrases that we just don’t seem to be able to currently get away from.

Whether it’s Greta Thunberg embroiled in a war of words with politicians or Extinction Rebellion digging up the lawns of Trinity College, Cambridge, everyone has an opinion of how we as individuals should be responding, as well as how the agricultural industry should act to mitigate the effects of global warming.

As an agronomist, driving around the Vale of York and throughout the county, it is very hard to argue against climate change as we look out across waterlogged fields and overflowing river banks.

Weather extremes certainly seem to be becoming more regular and our traditional four seasons seem to have merged into something that could be more likened to a ‘wet’ and a ‘dry’ season.

Yes, our ‘dry’ season certainly seems to be a distant memory right now, but let’s spare a thought in Australia who have been experiencing the opposite end of the weather spectrum to us this winter.

Whether these extremes are here to stay, or we are just currently in a weather cycle that seemingly keeps throwing us challenges, the climate change discussion here is stay and the role of agriculture is a huge focus in the debate.

As an industry we have the finger regularly pointed at us for being big polluters of greenhouse gasses, yet at the same time are also told that UK agriculture holds the key to helping the nation reach its 2050 net zero carbon goal.

Whether or not we believe the figures quoted in the press and on social media around agricultural emissions, with the NFU (National Farmers’ Union) setting an industry target of net zero by 2040, it is clear we have work to do.

On the evening of Wednesday 4th March, the Future Farmers of Yorkshire will be holding a meeting at Pavilions of Harrogate at the Great Yorkshire Showground to debate all aspects of carbon and how it affects us as farmers and the wider industry. This is part of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s month-long #Farm4Zero campaign which explores the opportunities that the net zero agenda has for farming.

The March date will feature a line-up of knowledgeable speakers who will discuss both the Government’s and the NFU’s farm emissions policies, and the toolkits that are available to measure a farm’s current carbon footprint.

Carbon credits and trading will be discussed, along with woodland planting grants, when we will be asking whether this really is turning emissions into opportunities for farmers or whether this just masks a wider problem?

We will also hear from the bioenergy sector and what role this will play in future years, as well as from the supply chain to hear what pressures they are facing from consumers, and what they may be asking from us as producers in the future.

Like it or not, climate change and the mission to cut emissions affects us all and undoubtedly, we will all have to adapt.

This meeting of the Future Farmers of Yorkshire aims to shed some light on a subject that is clearly going to pave the way for our industry in the years ahead, so please come along and enjoy the evening. There is even a free supper from 6.30pm for those of you rushing to get home from work.

To register for a free place, email

  • Future Farmers of Yorkshire was launched in 2010 to bring together like-minded farmers, vets and industry supporters. It is supported by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. The group has been joined by over 1,000 forward-thinking members, eager to expand their knowledge and excel in their careers. To join the group, please contact:
  • Read more about our #Farm4Zero campaign here and don’t miss our Spring Debate entitled ‘Farming amidst Climate Change, Turning Emissions into Opportunities’ at Pavilions of Harrogate on Wednesday 4th March – book a free place here.

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#Farm4ZeroAngus Gowthorpe