The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) is urging farmers to carefully asses any opportunities connected to land use change, to ensure they retain control, while they navigate through a “generation’s change in just one decade”, as a result of emission reduction targets, the removal of support payments and changing political demands.
Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference, Mr Jeremy Moody, CAAV advisor (pictured left), highlighted the need for farmers to be fully aware of the restrictions and obligations of certain environmental land use agreements, which could tie them into restrictive management for more than 30 years.
“If you’re paid to provide services that’s one thing, but once the buyer takes control of the carbon, biodiversity or other outcomes you may have lost control of the farm, with restrictions and penalties to protect what the buyer has bought.” said Mr Moody.
“Carbon is also a paradox: It is very important to the farm but has a trivial market value. Selling carbon credits looks to handicap farmers who will be expected to reduce their own carbon footprint; it is counter-productive as the farmer will then have to find that carbon reduction again,” he added.
Mr Moody went on to provide his thoughts on five potential development routes for farming:
- Focusing land use mainly on the environment, from ‘re-wilding’ to forestry and solar, with little agricultural production.
- Combining agriculture with environmental outputs
- Commodity production by farmers focused on efficiency
- Controlling and, where possible, adding value via branding and specialist offerings
- A higher investment in areas such as fruit vegetable and livestock farming
In conclusion, Mr Moody advised farmers to seek “balanced and trusted advice”, to understand all of the implications of any land use change opportunities.
The Low Carbon Agriculture Show, taking place on 8-9 March at NAEC Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, of which Energy Now is a founder partner, features an extensive conference programme providing exactly this type of practical advice, together with information on the opportunities connected to environmental land management, renewable energy generation, the latest clean technologies and the decarbonisation of the UK’s transport sector. It also features an extensive exhibition of suppliers and advisors. For more information and to arrange a free ticket please visit www.lowcarbonagricultureshow.co.uk.