The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), with support from the Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) is investing £2.5 million to enable more accurate reporting of emissions and the environmental impact of agriculture.

In Scotland, the launch will be a collaboration between AHDB and QMS, who are investing £375,000 to support participating beef, sheep and pig farmers. 

The pilot focuses on accurate measurements to reveal the net carbon position of farm businesses, including carbon sequestration potential.

The launch will provide a dataset which shows the range and variety of results from individual farms, which will allow the industry to move away from relying on national and international averages.

The data collected will help to demonstrate the “real environmental benefits” of British agricultural products, both domestically and overseas. It will also provide a more accurate reflection of its position and progress towards Net Zero.

AHDB chief executive, Graham Wilkinson said:

“Agriculture faces the biggest challenge of a generation in demonstrating the positive impact that farming systems can have on the environment.

“This is amplified by a lack of accurate, on-farm-level data. Our industry-first pilot will help change the story of British agriculture, which has been dominated by gross greenhouse gas emissions.”

“AHDB is bringing the industry together on this mission and has committed to investing significant levy funds to lead this baselining pilot,” Wilkinson added.

The pilot will also allow the industry to demonstrate how it improves water quality, reduces greenhouse gases, builds carbon stocks, enhances soil health and supports biodiversity both above and below ground.

He added that its ambition is that baselining should be rolled out on every farm across the country, and it will be working with government to discuss how this could be supported by the industry.

AHDB livestock science and environment director, Chris Gooderham said:

“Early on we will also be able to gauge the relative capacity of above ground and below ground carbon, the impact of farming methods and land uses on emissions, carbon stocks, biodiversity, run off risk and soil health.

“By measuring and analysing this data it will help us understand the critical elements that could be rolled out across the rest of the industry.”

CEO of QMS Sarah Miller said it has a “unique opportunity” to show that Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork actively contribute to landscape preservation and carbon sequestration as well as food production.

AHDB and QMS are currently in the process of recruiting farms to join the pilot project. More information, including an expression of interest form can be found at the AHDB website.