Discussing Climate Crisis Challenges and Solutions with Women in Agriculture
Invitation to speak at a Women in Agriculture event about climate change and agriculture
I was excited when I was asked earlier in the year to speak at a Women in Agriculture event about climate change and agriculture, it’s a topic that has come up repeatedly in the intervening months as agriculture grapples with the practicalities of reducing its carbon footprint.
The main goal of this event, run from our St. Bowells office, was to provide an overview and a reality check regarding the contribution of agriculture on Climate Change, insights into carbon benchmarking and clarification on topics such as net-zero farming and sequestration of carbon.
I covered the science behind carbon emissions from farm businesses, and the available technologies that are being developed to combat emissions.
It proved to be a great opportunity for updating participants and to share how SAC Consulting and SRUC are developing technologies to support farmers and the food supply chain, for example with Agrecalc, our farm carbon tool focused on tackling climate change and promoting sustainable farming.
Helping farmers find their path to net-zero carbon
Net-zero farming is a topic that both the media and policymakers are increasingly discussing, but there has been reticence to discuss the implications of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a farm level. This is understandable for the farming sector following decades of criticism on issues from animal welfare, to pollution and land access. I find it frustrating that messages in the mainstream media can contradict those in the farming press, and it can be both difficult and isolating for farmers to know what to believe and where to look for factual, proven answers.
Agrecalc was born out of a need to provide these answers for the farming sector. The tool measures on-farm emissions with peer-reviewed research and provides evidence of what these emissions actually equate to on farms. This is the first step to understanding where the challenges lie and the carbon audit reports Agrecalc generates, opens up the conversation on farm-driven mitigation measures in an informed way.
Discussing the way forward
The Women in Agriculture events, as well as Farm Advisory Service events more widely, are great forums for levelling debates, providing an opportunity for farmers to openly ask questions of specialists in intimate meetings. The events have also allowed us as a team to address some of the confusion, or misinformation, in social or mainstream media. But most importantly, the events are about answering the question of ‘what does this drive for change mean for us?’ – translating a complex and jargon-heavy subject into something that is relatable to what goes on every day on-farm.
Discussing practical changes naturally leads to a lively discussion about possibilities for farm system change, as well as an eagerness to actively address the next crucial question, ‘what can we do about it?’.
The key to our team helping farmers to make net-zero progress is to share concise, accessible facts in an inclusive environment. These discussions will help farmers drive the future environmental and economic sustainability of farming themselves, which is a great thing.