A Day in the Life of…James Pitman, Calculator Development Officer

The day-to-day responsibilities of a carbon calculator development officer are a little more sedentary than those of our farmers or my advisory colleagues, but the intricacies of the job mean my life is far from mundane.

My primary objective is to continuously work on refining and enhancing our carbon calculator, ensuring it remains an accurate, trusted, and invaluable tool for UK farmers. 

A significant portion of my time is dedicated to the core emissions factors that underpin the calculator. This can mean verifying or updating our existing factors, researching new factors, or addressing the requests from users and advisors about factors they want on the calculator. In the last couple months I have been working closely on the Version 1.6.0 update to the calculator, which required a comprehensive review of all the emissions factors we use. This was a formidable task, and I have spent countless hours scouring through spreadsheets, deep in research papers, and having lively video calls with the team and our software developers. For all this work we have been able to add great functionality to the calculator and made really exciting plans for what is in the pipeline (no spoilers!), so the toil has paid off and I am very satisfied with the extent of new data and functionality we have been able to add in such a short window of time.

Since starting with FCT in December 2023, I have also been fortunate enough to help in the creation of the Equine Carbon Calculator, an industry-leading initiative aimed at quantifying emissions from the equine sector. During this development process you could have found me doing a myriad of tasks, from researching how the emissions would vary between different horse breeds, to calculating the materials needed for stable buildings and their embedded emissions, or beta-testing the new website and calculator. The opportunity to be involved with the Equine Carbon Calculator was fantastic and I have been thrilled to see how many reports have been built in it since it went live in March 2024.

The enthusiasm and passion FCT and its community have for sustainable agriculture is inspiring, and as a new member of the company I have never felt so welcome and excited about a new job. I hope that my work with the calculator team will create an efficient and effective tool for you all, and with that I am going to dive back into the research papers!