Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) is working with partners, The Farmer Network and the Fellfoot Forward Landscape Partnership Scheme (led by the North Pennines AONB), to ensure we have sustainable solutions that support the farming sector reduce its emissions and decarbonise.
In 2021 CAfS developed a pilot project that supported farmers to calculate their baseline carbon impact. They worked with the Farm Carbon Toolkit which is free. This pilot provided evidence of priority change to management practice, to save carbon and costs.
Identifying current gaps when developing sustainable solutions in farming emissions is key. CAfS also focussed on the positive sequestration value of permanent pasture, improved soil health and supported farmers to gather baseline soil samples for comparison.
Now, with the impact of the energy crisis there was a call to support farmers in researching and installing farm renewables. Supported by Electricity North West, CAfS worked with five farm types (dairy, beef and sheep, mixed arable and farm diversification), with a focus on unlocking the potential for Solar PV. The aim is to support farms to be energy independent and sustainable by reducing fuel bills and demand on the grid – and reducing emissions. The CAfS website has five case studies of the different farm types, with detailed reports, costs, and projected savings for each farm type: Farming for a future – CAfS.
Calling on upland farmers
The next project focuses on anecdotal evidence and research data. CAfS will be partner in a study led by Dr Peter Gittins, an upland farmer from the University of Leeds. This research is seeking to interview hill/upland beef and sheep farmers in Cumbria, Yorkshire, and Exmoor to give their views on approaches towards ELMs, netzero, and any constraints or barriers they may be facing. They want to speak to farmers who may be anxious about the future, or unsure about what new policies mean for them. Many are also seeking further information about ELMs and other support schemes available. Findings will feed into ongoing academic research into the effects of new Land Use Policies and will also be used to create a policy brief. All outputs will be shared with participants once published. For more information and to take part in the research, please email Dr Peter Gittins at email@example.com or call on 07480135127.
Sustainable solutions for reducing emissions in domestic energy
CAfS will soon be launching a Farmhouse Retrofit project to support farmers who want sustainable solutions in reducing emissions associated with their domestic energy efficiency – an issue that can be overlooked by farmers who are focused on trying to sustain a viable farm business in these challenging times.
These projects feed into our aim to have a zero carbon Cumbria by 2037 and the work of the Land Use sector group.
If you would like more information about the projects that work with farmers to find sustainable solutions for their emissions please contact our dedicated Farm Carbon Project Manager firstname.lastname@example.org