The UK’s crop production Climate Change Champion 2021 has been revealed. Tom Allen-Stevens reports.

Doug Wanstall has been awarded the accolade of CPM Climate Change Champion 2021.

With a diversified business that includes arable and beef enterprises, he was selected by CPM readers from nine growers whose progress on their journey to net zero has been profiled in the magazine.

Doug’s cropping includes lucerne, believed to draw large amounts of carbon down deep into the soil.

He’s also recently started Re-Generation Earth, a business set up to help farmers who sequester carbon benefit financially. A key aspect of this is an agroforestry venture designed around a fast-growing hybrid type of tree.

Full details were featured in CPM March 2021 issue.

Doug was announced as the overall carbon-friendly crop production farmer of 2021 by Defra farming minister Victoria Prentis at a round table event, organised by CPM, on Wednesday 3 November.

The event was kindly hosted at the Faccombe Estate, Hants, by estate director and CPM Climate Change Champion 2020 Al Brooks, who took attendees on a tour of the estate to showcase some of the activities he undertakes to help sequester carbon and reduce emissions.

The round table event was attended by Stuart Roberts deputy president of NFU, which supports CPM’s Climate Change Champions initiative. It brought together the experiences of 15 progressive champion farmers as well as views from across the arable sector on priorities for 2022 and beyond.

Victoria Prentis congratulated the farmers on their achievements, noting there are many others around the country also taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“I was so impressed by the energy and enthusiasm around climate-responsible farming and sustainable food production. It is every bit as exciting as what is being discussed at COP26 this week.

“The Government’s Clean Growth Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan set out our environmental ambitions, and our approach to achieving them. I’d like to thank all of the farmers who play such a huge role in achieving these ambitions.”

During the two-hour webinar event, which can be viewed in full here, the nine Climate Change Champions summarise their priorities for their own farming systems.

After the presentation of the award to Doug, Stuart joins in discussion with the nine farmers. This opens to wider conversation with representatives from Climate Change Champion sponsors Agrii, BASF, BKT, CF Fertilisers, KWS, Interagro, Lloyds Bank and Small Robot Company.

Matt Culley, NFU combinable crops chairman, joins the discussion and brings an update on the NFU net zero initiative.

Full coverage of the event will be published in the December 2021 issue of CPM. Climate Change Champions will continue into 2022, and CPM readers who feel they’ve made a pioneering change in how they run their farms can now step forward and apply.