Second farmer-led Climate Group announced

A second farmer-led group to provide information, advice and proposals to cut emissions and tackle climate change is being established.

The creation of the Arable Sector Climate Group, which will build on the work of the Suckler Beef Climate Group, was announced by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

Chaired by Jim Walker and assisted by former SRUC student Claire Simonetta, the Suckler Beef Climate Group published its final report last month. A team from SRUC and SAC Consulting, including Steven Thomson, Julian Bell and Gavin Hill, analysed and modelled the data to evidence and support the group’s work.

A Programme Board is being set up to take its recommendations forward. Co-chaired by Fergus Ewing and Jim Walker, the first meeting will be held on 26 November. Membership of the group will include industry representatives as well as representatives from SRUC, Nature Scot, and QMS.

The Arable Sector Climate Group, meanwhile, will be chaired by Andrew Moir, former chair of AgriScot.

Fergus Ewing said: “In this year’s Programme for Government, we committed to establishing these farmer-led groups to consider ways to tackle climate change, cut emissions and make key sectors in Scottish farming more sustainable. It’s clear that these groups are going to help government change farming and food production for the better. We now need to drive forward this work at pace.

“I am therefore delighted to be able to announce that Andrew Moir has agreed to chair the Arable Sector Climate Group building on the work of the Suckler Beef Group. His Group will be asked to identify measures which support the arable and cropping sectors to contribute to climate change targets. Andrew brings huge experience and knowledge to the role. He will relish the opportunity to work with colleagues in identifying practical solutions to achieve these very important goals. I look forward to seeing their outputs in due course.”

Steven Thomson, who will sit on the Suckler Beef Climate Group’s Programme Board, said: “The announcement of an Arable Sector Climate Group and the establishment of a Programme Board for the Suckler Beef Climate Group sends a strong signal to the industry of the Scottish Government’s commitment to reducing agriculture’s net contribution to climate change.

“The announcements put the industry at the heart of policy evolution, meaning food production and the rural economy will be utmost in people’s minds as change is driven forward that addresses both climate change and biodiversity challenges.”

Steven warned, however, that both the Suckler Beef Climate Group report and the Farming for 1.5 Degrees interim report indicate that there are considerable hurdles to overcome.

He added: “Collectively these groups, alongside Scotland’s world-class scientific knowledge base embedded in the SEFARI Institutes and University sectors (supported by the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme on agriculture, environment, food and land) puts Scotland in a positive place to embark on this ambitious journey to help our farming and land-use sectors make positive contributions to the biodiversity and climate emergencies.

“Hopefully further groups will soon be established that ensure all farming and land management sectors are covered - providing practical pathways that embed climate change mitigation and biodiversity improvements within Scottish food and fibre production.”

Posted by SRUC on 20/11/2020

Tags: Climate and Environment, Cattle, Rural Business
Categories: Sustainability