Read more here about our exciting new project work being funded over the next two years by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.
What's it all about?
So back in summer of last year, FCCT put in a funding application to the Esmee Fairbairn Trust to get some finance. The bid was to provide funding to continue their core work of engaging farmers with the climate change agenda. As well as this the funding was to help develop practical tools, demonstrations and knowledge to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve profitability and sustainability.
The good news is that we were successful in our application, and now the lovely people at Esmee Fairbairn have given us some money to continue our "core" work and run two special projects over the next two years. There is a bit more information about the two projects below.
The Demo Farm Project
This project is based on setting up three demonstration farms across the UK where farmers could see climate change mitigation practices in action. There is lots of talk about reducing greenhouse gas emissions on-farm and management options are quoted; but how efficient are they? And what is their effect on the farm enterprise, and ultimately profit?
This project will provide a unique opportunity for farmers to explore potential options that reduce emissions, as well as provide farm scale results to inform the researchers what happens when you trial research at the farm scale.
So what will happen?
3 demo farmers will be set up across England and Wales. When each farm is set up, the carbon footprint of the farm will be assessed using the FCCT Carbon Calculator. This will provide as assessment of the greenhouse gas emissions from the farm at the start of the project. Each farmer will also provide information on costs of production.
We will have two events (or maybe more if there is enough interest!) at each farm. The first will include an introduction to the farm, have a look at some of the hot spots from the farm, and suggest some ideas that might be available to reduce them. The second event will return to the farm at the end of the second year and see what's changed.
We recognise it's not perfect
We understand that a lot of the changes will take longer than a year to change (in terms of the effect on carbon footprint). What we are hoping to show with these demo farms, it that there are always opportunities to improve efficiencies, and reduce costs, no matter what your farming situation. We are an optimistic bunch here at FCCT, and we are hoping that seeing some of these things put into practice through these demo farms, will inspire you to create change on your farm at home.
Location of the demo farms
Are just being finalised, and will be published here in due course.
The Soil Carbon Project
The soil carbon project has been designed to spread the word about the benefits of increasing soil carbon (organic matter) levels on farm. Increasing soil carbon is a win-win practice for farmers, the public and the environment. Soils richer in carbon are of better quality, sequester (absorb) atmospheric carbon dioxide, produce better quality food, hold more water (and release it more slowly) and are more resistant to erosion.
So how do we do it?
FCCT will create dedicated resources which are looking at how to build carbon in soils. To visit the soil carbon pages please click here.
As well as this, FCCT will be holding 6 events over the next two years which will be looking at this issue in a variety of ways. These will include:
- assessing the soil for organic matter levels - is it worth testing?
- the importance of nutrient cycling for soil health
- Living soil cover, incorporating green manures into the rotation
- Soil carbon - is there a potential income generation to be had?
- The link between soil biological populations and soil carbon, getting your soil to work for you
Event details will be published on the FCCT events page when they are finalised but are due to start in the autumn.