‘Regenerative farming’ strategy can help combat climate change, says Holkham Estate
- Credit: Mike Page
A north Norfolk estate on a “journey of regenerative agriculture” will be the focal point for a national webinar exploring how farmers and landowners can help to tackle climate change.
The free online event will be live from the Holkham Estate on November 25, hosted by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) as part of its Rural Powerhouse Week (RPW), which aims to demonstrate the strength and versatility of the rural economy.
After the UK became the first major world economy to put a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 into legislation, the subject of climate change will be at the forefront of the discussion.
The webinar will discuss the opportunities for the agriculture industry to demonstrate how it can be part of the solution by producing high-quality food while reducing emissions and taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
The 25,000-acre agricultural estate at Holkham, described as a “fascinating example of how climate change and the rural economy intersect”, will outline the progress made on its own sustainability strategy, which has seen climate change considerations incorporated into its business planning, farming enterprises, conservation and rural tourism operations. The panel will discuss what lessons land managers can learn and apply to their own holdings.
The Earl of Leicester, owner of Holkham, said: “There are still a number of climate change sceptics out there but I think it was put very succinctly by Sir David Attenborough when he said that there is simply too much of a risk to ignore it.
“I personally believe that climate change is with us and is very evident. Back in the day, if you were environmentally-minded it was something that you campaigned for and hoped for change. Now, I think there are some very good economic reasons for taking a more environmental view to the way we manage land.
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“We have been embarking on a journey of regenerative agriculture over the last seven or eight years and it has seen yields increase and we have seen soil resilience and soil health improve.”
READ MORE: Lush pastures and dairy cows are driving Norfolk farm’s ‘regeneration’James Beamish, Holkham Farming Company’s, general manager, added: “We do seem to be getting a lot more major weather events and we’re trying to put resilience into the farming system to cope with these ever-changing weather patterns.
“We’ve put a lot of investment into our soils with organic materials, and livestock is integrated within our arable rotations. One of our farming policies is to have a living root growing in the fields all year round sequestering carbon. We want to go down to the detail of what crops are best, not just for the soil but for capturing carbon.”
CLA climate change and water lead Alice Ritchie said: “Farmers and landowners need to be thinking about climate change now - they are on the front line and can see the impacts directly on their businesses through changing weather patterns and increasing risk of drought and flood.
“We are working hard to help our members adapt to the impacts of climate change. For example, we’ll soon be publishing our water strategy which is our vision of what land managers and farmers need to be considering between now and 2030. Earlier this year we produced a factsheet that looked to dispel some of the myths around agriculture’s contribution to climate change.
“We are looking forward to our webinar from Holkham and hope to share a wealth of good practice between farmers and landowners in how we can all play a part in tackling this global issue.”
The webinar panel will include a range of experts from Holkham as well as Hugh Taylor, the chief executive of power and energy consultancy Roadnight Taylor. The session will be chaired by CLA Norfolk vice chairman Gavin Lane.
• The CLA webinar at Holkham will take place at 2pm on November 25. For more details or to book a place, see the CLA website.