FARMS in the Cairngorms National Park are being given help to go green thanks to free carbon footprint audits.
The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) and Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) have teamed up to launch the pilot Green Farm Project, which will audit farms and local food producers to determine their carbon emission levels and help develop a lower carbon economy in the National Park. A guide will also be produced for farmers which will offer practical advice on how to make their businesses more viable.
The project will assist in helping the businesses adapt to government policy relating to climate change and to maximise any business potential.
It is the first project of its kind in the Park and it is hoped up to 16 farms and four local food producers will take part. Farmers, land-owners and producers around the Park are now being invited to apply.
The Scottish Government estimates that agriculture contributes approximately 12 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland. Partners working in the National Park have agreed that action is needed at a local level to help reduce this figure and meet government targets on emissions reduction.
The project aims to:
- Raise awareness and encourage participation amongst the agriculture community on action on climate change;
- Provide support for farmers and land managers on how to reduce their carbon footprint and
- Reduce their waste and costs and identify opportunities for the increased use of ‘green’ products.
Jim Booth, from SAOS, said: “Carbon footprints and its management could have a major impact on agriculture. It is therefore important farmers and landowners are aware of all the issues and understand how greenhouse gas emissions occur on their farms. The good news is that by improving carbon efficiency, farmers will also improve their bottom line.”
Eleanor Mackintosh, a CNPA board member, said: “There is a need to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions within the agricultural sector, but land owners and farmers must be given support to do this. Green Farm is an exciting project which will demonstrate to farmers how greening their farm can help towards a more financially viable business while contributing to reducing the Park’s carbon footprint.
“The CNPA is pleased to be working with SOAS on this project and we would encourage farmers and local food producers to apply.”
The Green Farm will also assist participants with their applications under the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP), which offers support for economic, environmental and social projects and work in rural communities between 2008 and 2013, as one its outcomes is adapting to and mitigating against climate change.
A seminar will also be held later this year when the findings of the audits will be discussed and participants will be able to meet with experts to look at how they can reduce their carbon emission levels.