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Poultry Farmers Score Well on Reducing GHGs

by 5m Editor
26 April 2010, at 8:18a.m.

UK - A new survey released by Farming Futures – an industry-led project which helps farmers respond to climate change – reveals that one in four farmers have noticed increased interest from customers in their environmental performance over the past year.

The release of the survey findings coincides with the launch of Farming Futures' new web site and blog.

Fifty-three per cent of those surveyed recognise that addressing climate change offers potential business opportunities – a significant rise on last year – and the number of farmers producing their own energy has doubled. Almost half are taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from their land (48 per cent), and one in three (31 per cent) farmers are doing something to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Encouragingly, almost half (47 per cent) of farmers are confident that the industry's target to reduce GHG emissions by 11 per cent by 2020 can be met. And a massive 47 per cent are improving energy efficiency on their farm.

Other key findings from the survey are:

  • Pig and poultry farmers came out top in reducing GHGs from their farms, with 63 per cent and 58 per cent, respectively, saying they were taking action.
  • The East Midlands and Yorkshire & Humber came out top in terms of reducing GHGs from their farms, with 61 per cent and 56 per cent, respectively, saying they were taking action.
  • Vegetable and potato growers and pig farmers came out top in adapting to the impacts of climate change, with 47 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively, saying they were taking action.
  • The West Midlands and the East Midlands came out top in adapting to the impacts of climate change, with 45 per cent and 39 per cent saying they were taking action.
  • 74 per cent think that producers should work more closely with processors and retailers to combat climate change.
  • 82 per cent think that farmers should work together and share ideas more to combat climate change, which could include setting up buying/sharing cooperatives, or 'knowledge' cooperatives.
  • 88 per cent said that rising input prices were making them more efficient with their resources, an increase on last year.
  • Farmers are increasingly interested in measuring their farm’s carbon footprint – 36 per cent compared to 31 per cent last year.

The survey comes on the back of a big year for farming, during which Government legislation, the Feed-in Tariffs, media debates on the environmental impact of food production, and rising energy and input costs have put farming in the spotlight.

Madeleine Lewis, Farming Futures Strategic Advisor said: "The last year has brought a lot of developments in the agricultural sector and climate change is now firmly on the agenda. Government targets around greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, renewable energy and food security are challenging us to rethink the way we farm. These issues aren't going to go away – by engaging with them and making changes, you can take advantage of the opportunities and manage the risks."

She added: "Like every sector of the economy, farming has its role to play in the shift to a low carbon economy, but the good news is that a lot of the things farmers can do are good for their bottom line too. And it's not all about big investments – as we can see from the survey results, almost half of farmers are improving the energy efficiency on their farm – these smaller actions are just as important."

The new Farming Futures web site and blog [click here] have been designed as a 'one-stop-shop' to help farmers discover and share what actions they can take on their farm that will reduce their environmental impact.

The new web site has five video case studies of farmers who are exploring new technologies and ways of working to reduce their environmental impact. There is also a film outlining the business case for engaging with the issues, featuring Sir Don Curry and the Rt Hon. Nick Herbert MP. Farmers are encouraged to contribute to the blog to share ideas and information with other farmers. The web site will also list Farming Future's series of free on-farm events across England which begin in the summer.