83% of farmers could be carbon neutral within 15 years – Barclays

Barclays has teamed up with Nigel Owens MBE, world-renowned rugby union referee and Welsh cattle farmer, to launch a new campaign to drive awareness amongst consumers on the benefits of helping the food system become carbon net zero.

Sustainability Through Agri-Tech will also provide farmers with access to £250 million which is available to support their business to become carbon net zero through Agri-Tech solutions.

In a survey of 1,000 UK farmers, eight in 10 (83%) say that they believe they could be carbon neutral by 2035, five years ahead of the 2040 target set by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

One in six (16%) believe that they have already reached this goal, while 65% said they were thinking about how to make their businesses more sustainable in the wake of the pandemic.

More than two-thirds of respondents (69%) also said that becoming greener will increase their farm’s competitiveness after the UK has left the EU, indicating Brexit could accelerate their transition to becoming carbon neutral.

‘The climate change solution’

Nigel Owens MBE, rugby union referee and farmer in Pontyberem, Wales, said:

It’s great that we’re starting to talk more about how farmers can further enhance the environment and be part of the climate change solution while keeping the nation fed and healthy, which is especially important at times like this.

“I’m a proud owner of 35 Herefordshire cows, and cattle play an important role in the ecosystem when managed properly.

“Grassland is very good at capturing carbon from out of the atmosphere, and soil is key to carbon sequestration policies, an underrated solution to tackling climate change.

“I’ll continue to plant more trees and will look into technologies that can help the farm to become more efficient too.”

Tech investment

The Barclays campaign highlights Agri-Tech as key to helping the industry on its carbon neutral mission, as well as improve productivity.

70% of farmers surveyed said Agri-Tech could help their business to become more sustainable and efficient, while nearly two-thirds (65%) said it would enable them to produce more food.