As our East Devon Farmers Group continues to grow, increasing from its original 55 to 69 members, the interest amongst East Devon farmers for understanding and contributing to conservation practices is clear.

Our recent ‘Carbon Event’ had the largest turnout for a group session so far, as members gathered to learn more about carbon and emissions in agriculture and how they can tackle key environmental issues on their farms. The event also attracted farm advisors keen to learn more about on-farm carbon accounting.

Becky Willson, project manager of the Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit and creator of the ‘farm crap app’, delivered sessions to help group members understand how to reduce emissions and improve soil health, carbon-capture (sequestration) via soils, hedgerows and trees and business resilience.

The event also introduced the Farm Carbon Calculator, which helps create an audit of farm carbon footprints, including the sequestration that is already taking place.
Agriculture is currently responsible for about 10% of the UK’s Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, mostly from methane and nitrous oxide. But, as an industry, it is uniquely placed to be part of the solution to the problem.

In simple terms, farming practices – animal health, planting and improved land management – can reduce and capture carbon dioxide and remove it from the atmosphere, storing or converting it into food/fuel. Farmers can also protect carbon reserves already present in the soil and vegetation.

Practices to enhance carbon-capture serve to effectively offset the production of methane and nitrous oxide, which are more difficult to reduce.