The NFU is urging its members to step forward and become part of the solution to climate change. There’s still time to nominate yourself as a CPM Climate Change Champion.

By Tom Allen-Stevens

Key industry players, including the NFU, have joined the call from CPM for arable farmers to step forward as Climate Change Champions.

The deadline to nominate yourself, help lead the arable sector and inspire other growers to be part of the solution to climate change has been extended until 31 Dec.

Farmers who feel they can fulfil this role can put themselves forward as a Climate Change Champion by filling out a simple on-line form. More information on the initiative can be found here.

NFU’s Net Zero ambition

“Quite clearly, climate change is the challenge of our generation, which is why NFU has set the ambition for UK Agriculture to achieve Net Zero by 2040,” says NFU combinable crops board chairman Tom Bradshaw.

“It’s also clear that agriculture is part of the solution, so it’s critical that we’re on the front foot and start to modify our systems now so that we can deliver this ambition and attract the investment that will be required from government.

“Arable farmers are responsible for the largest percentage of UK land under active management – there’s a massive opportunity to develop systems that successfully sequester carbon. Improving productivity also has a critical role to play in achieving the net-zero ambition.

“But it won’t be easy – the industry will have to work together, with scientists and with Government. And it will be farmers, working with industry partners, who’ll pioneer and deliver the solutions Society so urgently needs,” notes Tom.

The NFU has joined in support of the CPM initiative and is encouraging its members who feel they can make a positive contribution to nominate themselves.

“It’s difficult to grasp at the moment what climate change mitigation means for individual arable businesses – we’re hoping this initiative will help identify the practical steps growers can take to bring positive change,” says Tom.

Key industry players

CPM has also partnered with key industry players, who have joined the initiative as sponsors and all have a credible Net Zero aspiration.

BASF, BKT, CF Fertilisers, Fendt, Pöttinger, Interagro and KWS will help in choosing the Climate Change Champion finalists and in profiling their contribution to meeting the challenge the arable sector faces.

As one of the world’s leading agricultural companies, claiming a heritage of pioneering science and technology, BASF has set itself a global production target of CO₂-neutral growth up to 2030, explains UK agricultural sustainability manager Mike Green.

“To look at this in agriculture, we’ve developed AgBalance as a method to measure and assess sustainability – it’s not just about using fewer resources, but about making productivity gains. The aim is for a positive impact on communities as well as the farmed environment, delivering the right balance for success.”

The independently certified tool has been developed over ten years and tested on farms in BASF’s Sustainable Farm Network. “It gives the farmers some metrics to describe not just their production footprint but their wider contribution to society,” continues Mike.

AgBalance is being refined to be used across a wider grower base, allowing a farm’s existing data from current crop recording systems to be used to gauge their carbon and sustainability credentials.

“In 2020 we’ll be rolling out AgBalance to some of our key farming customers, helping them see how the choices they make impact on climate protection. We’re really excited to be involved with Climate Change Champions too – this will help arable farmers recognise their opportunities and provide pointers for positive change.”

2020 Climate Change Champion

Through a series of articles in 2020, CPM will profile growers who have implemented changes on their farm and can demonstrate thought leadership on climate change.

In Oct 2020, CPM readers will be invited to select the 2020 Climate Change Champion – the winner will be announced in Dec 2020.

In Nov 2020, all the finalists and their sponsors will meet with senior NFU officeholders at its London office to decide the Net Zero priorities for the arable sector ahead of COP26, due to take place in Glasgow next year.

To nominate yourself for Climate Change Champions – please click here