#Farm4Zero campaign to empower rural Yorkshire in climate change challenge

A new #Farm4Zero campaign aims to energise farmers and rural businesses about how they can respond to the climate change challenge as British agriculture seeks to reduce its carbon footprint.

Although agriculture accounts for just 9% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, compared to proportionally higher impact sectors such as transport (23%) and industry (21%), farmers are acutely aware of the need to take action.

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society is determined to focus minds on the positive opportunities that exist as British farming seeks to meet its own target to become net zero in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 – ten years ahead of the Government’s 2050 target for the British economy as a whole.

To empower farmers and rural businesses about rising to this challenge, the Society is today launching its #Farm4Zero campaign which it will be promoting on social media throughout March.

The campaign is headlined by two inspiring free events which will be held by two farming networks supported by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. These events will explore the opportunities that the climate change agenda offers farming and the environment.

First up, the Future Farmers of Yorkshire’s Spring Debate on Wednesday 4 March will focus on ‘Farming amidst Climate Change, Turning Emissions into Opportunities’, and on Monday 16 March, the Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network will explore the challenges and opportunities for farming and rural businesses to reach net zero at its ‘Energising Yorkshire’ conference.

Both events will take place at Pavilions of Harrogate on the Great Yorkshire Showground. Book your free places now:

Alastair Trickett, who chairs the Future Farmers of Yorkshire and farms in Arthington, said farming has huge potential to help mitigate climate breakdown.

Mr Trickett said:

“We are arguably facing the most significant decade in the history of mankind and I don’t think that is overstating it.

“We can argue over the details of the relative impacts each type of farming has on the environment, and there are some farms that are doing amazing things for the environment and should be celebrated. But that doesn’t change the big picture that in the main, we can and must do better.

“This is not unique to farming. It applies to all individuals and businesses alike.”

With the help of funding from the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, Mr Trickett was recently awarded a prestigious Nuffield Farming Scholarship to study the opportunity for consumer brands and farmers to work together to scale regenerative agriculture.

He said farmers are uniquely positioned to impact on climate change.

“We are custodians of the soil, which accounts for 80% of terrestrial carbon. Therefore, small changes in the way we farm the soil to produce food can have big impacts on the carbon systems of the planet.

“Agriculture is uniquely placed to start reversing some of the damage already done to our planet by mankind, in relation to global warming but as importantly, biodiversity loss. What an amazing, empowering and exciting position to be in. We must be responsible enough to lead by example and act now.”

Madge Moore, who chairs the Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network, believes there are opportunities for both farming and non-farming rural businesses to contribute to net zero targets.

She said:

“The overwhelming majority of the world’s climate scientists and governments agree that climate change is occurring and that the main cause is human use of fossil fuels. Storing of carbon dioxide through carbon capture is rapidly becoming a major topic for not only discussion but action.

“The aim of the Energising Yorkshire Conference is to help rural businesses, as well as farming and food producing organisations to develop awareness of the latest thinking around carbon capture and to hear about practical solutions that are developing both in Yorkshire and further afield.

“I would therefore encourage you to come along and hear first-hand from our panel of experts and to see for yourselves how your business could benefit through the take up a range of innovative solutions.”

Join in the conversation on social media about how farming and rural businesses can respond to the climate change challenge, by using the #Farm4Zero hashtag.

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The Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network is seeking new membersRob Daniel