The United Nations climate summit in Glasgow has got the world talking about global warming, climate change and the need for every country in the world to reduce its carbon footprint.
Every day this week, Farming Connect will release a series of short ‘sustainable farming’ information videos. The videos, which are are presented by members of the Farming Connect technical team, are designed to inspire every farm business in Wales to implement key farming practices that are already helping many Welsh farm businesses reduce their carbon emissions. Tune into Farming Connect’s social media channels to hear how our industry can continue to contribute to the solution to this world-wide challenge.
Farming Connect is delivered on behalf of the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development by Menter a Busnes, alongside Lantra Wales. Speaking as the COP26 summit enters its second week, Eirwen Williams, director of rural programmes with Menter a Busnes, urged all farm and forestry businesses in Wales to tune into Farming Connect’s Facebook or Instagram channels. This will give them information about how they too can contribute to this critical campaign, by tapping into the support services and training available through Farming Connect.
“The Welsh Government has set a target of Wales being a net-zero country by 2050, and our farming industry has a hugely important role to play in helping achieve this.
“Farming in Wales is already making a positive contribution, but as with everything, there is always room for improvement.
“Welsh farming is largely based on non-intensive practices, relying on abundant grass and rainfall.
“The number of farms in Wales generating renewable energy is continuously increasing at a significant rate, but much more can still be done, which is why Farming Connect is determined to reach out and support even more businesses.”
Mrs Williams said that farming in a sustainable manner means making best use of all the farm’s natural resources, adding that it was essential to make use of innovation and new technologies and find more efficient, effective and profitable ways of working. Farming Connect offers support and guidance for all sectors of the industry, which is why she is urging every family and every business to take full advantage of the services, guidance and training available – all either fully-funded or subsidised by up to 80%.
“The starting point for all farmers should be to undertake a detailed carbon audit of the business – a service available through the Farming Connect Advisory Service, which will provide the support and guidance they need, clear recommendations and a detailed action plan.”
The Advisory Service, which also provides biodiversity audits and advice on infrastructure, can be funded by up to 80% for eligible businesses, and is fully-funded for groups of farmers working together.
At the start of the pandemic, Farming Connect launched a series of one-to-one online clinics and surgeries. With many of these also now available ‘on-farm’, the range of topics has been extended to include a number that will help farmers address climate change. These include a soil clinic (which provides for five free soil samples of bulk density and organic matter); a manure clinic (which includes two free manure samples); a forage clinic (which includes two free forage samples) and a water clinic (which includes one free water sample).
“The purpose of these clinics is to provide the information farmers need to enable them to implement more efficient farming practices and make better use of natural resources,” said Mrs Williams.
The application window for Farming Connect’s popular ‘Prosper from Pasture’ programme is now open. With well-managed pasture at the core of productive, profitable and environmentally beneficial livestock systems that produce nutritious and high-quality milk and meat, take-up of this important service is expected to increase dramatically as part of the industry’s response to the ‘call to action’ issued through COP26.
“Hundreds of Welsh farmers now participate in ‘Prosper from Pasture’, and seeing such huge improvements to both their grassland and stock performance is encouraging even more businesses to get involved,” said Mrs Williams.
Your local Farming Connect development officer can provide further information or advice on a package of services tailored to your requirements, which will provide the best solutions for any challenges you might be facing, or advice on where or how to start. They can also help you access the support you need to help you reduce the carbon footprint of your business, to make your contribution to climate change. Alternatively, visit the Farming Connect website at www.gov.wales/farmingconnect
Farming Connect is delivered by Menter a Busnes and Lantra Wales and funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.