Our History

A history of the Farm Carbon Toolkit, centred around some key people who have played a pivotal role in our early years.  

Adam Twine 

Adam set up Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit in 2009 with Chris Walford from Pertwood Farm in Wiltshire. At that time, Adam was farming 1,200 acres at Westmill farm and at Colleymore farm as a National Trust tenant, both on the Oxon/Wilts boundary.

Over the last 30 years, he had initiated a wide range of practices to reduce the GHG emissions from his farming, including converting much of the land to organic husbandry in the early 90s and then adopting direct drilling and cover cropping etc on the remaining conventionally farmed arable acres. He had experimented with reducing N2O emissions via drilling into permanent clover understory, using N inhibitors, reducing N rates etc… had done significant insulation retrofits on farm cottages …. and installed a pond and reed bed treatment system to deal with the washings from the dairy.

He initiated and spent seventeen years helping set up the pioneering community-owned Westmill Wind Farm and Westmill Solar Co-operative, which for many years was the largest community-owned solar farm in the world.

He has been involved in environmental activism and politics from the late 70s and set up the Farm Carbon Toolkit as at that time there was no credible organisation working with farmers to engage positively with climate change. He believed that there was an important role for farmers to play in supporting other farmers to understand the complexity of GHG emissions from their farms and how to effectively reduce them, and also a huge need to advocate for the urgency of taking action now, which no-one in the wider agricultural industry seemed to understand.

Jonathan Smith

Back in 2010, Jonathan Smith was instrumental in bringing the Farm Carbon Calculator to the Farm Carbon Toolkit which had been founded a year earlier by Adam Twine and Chris Walford. Jonathan originally developed the Climate Friendly Food Calculator with Mukti Mitchell and launched it in 2009. It was this Calculator which became the Farm Carbon Calculator.

Jonathan is an organic grower, based on the Isles of Scilly and has combined supporting the development of the Farm Carbon Toolkit and his own commercial business over the past 13 years. When FCT began, GHG emissions and agriculture were rarely talked about in the mainstream, but Adam and Jonathan realised that farmers needed to have a Calculator that they could trust to help them understand the key sources of farm-based emissions and sequestration.  For many years, the Farm Carbon Calculator was the only tool which estimated the emissions and sequestration of the entire farm business. It was also the only Calculator which was free for anyone to use, which was a key part of  FCT’s philosophy of helping everyone to better understand and take action on reducing their GHGs. This principle remains at the core of FCT today.

Jonathan has overseen the ongoing developments of the Calculator which has resulted in this tool being amongst the leading Calculators for farm businesses in the UK. 

In 2023, the Calculator underwent some major innovations including the development of an API –  opening up the possibility of integration with other farm data platforms – as well as new systems to enable product footprinting for the supply chain alongside whole-farm footprinting. These projects help advance the ability for easier, more automated data entry for farmers and help maximise the insight that farmers can derive from their carbon footprint.

Becky Willson

Becky joined FCT in January 2014 and for the next six years was the sole employee of the organisation, running the projects which FCT was involved with, in particular the soil carbon project which had been supported by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. This project was groundbreaking for FCT and more widely for our understanding of how farmers can adopt practices which will accelerate the sequestration of carbon into soils. As a result of this project and follow-up soil sampling and testing at the same spots on these farms, we are developing a unique soils database which we are now starting to analyse to help us answer some of the questions about how best to accelerate soil carbon removals. 

Before joining FCT, and alongside her role at FCT for the first 7 years Becky worked at the Rural Business School at Duchy College on the SWARM Knowledge Hub, a project tasked with helping farmers and growers across the South West manage their resources sustainably.  As part of the SWARM Hub project, Becky was part of the team that developed the Farm Crap App, a mobile phone app to help farmers calculate the nutritive value of livestock manures.

In 2016 Becky was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship to study further how to communicate carbon reduction schemes to farmers, which has fed into her work at FCT as our Technical and Business Development Director leading the work of our team of soil and carbon experts. 

Becky became the first full-time member of staff at FCT in 2020, celebrating her 10th anniversary with FCT earlier in 2024.  Becky is a passionate advocate for highlighting the economic benefits of sustainable farming and how reducing farm-based emissions is generally good for the bank balance too!