Farmers across Wales have been inspired to seek support to measure the carbon footprint of their businesses after a series of Farming Connect workshops.

The carbon masterclasses, led by Farming Connect’s Carbon Specialist Officer, Dr Non Williams, took place in St Clears, Newtown and Nefyn, and gave an opportunity for farmers to understand the significance of the carbon cycle on their farms, and how they can influence it to help reduce their carbon footprint in the future.

Dr Williams said that as a direct result of those meetings there had been a number of inquiries from farmers who were keen to apply for funding to measure their own farm’s carbon footprint.

This service is available through the Farming Connect Advisory Services and is 80 per cent funded.

The majority of farmers who attended the masterclasses had beef, sheep or dairy systems, and only two of those had already embarked on a carbon foot-printing exercise.

“One of those farmers spoke about how useful he had found the process because it had identified areas where improvements could be made to his farm’s efficiency,’’ said Dr Williams, adding that every farm’s starting point will be different and therefore efficiency gains will be different too.

“Some measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced on-farm or enhancing carbon sequestration might seem unachievable to certain businesses, but many practices do not require much, if any, investment. There will also be something that every farm can do,’’ she suggested.

The need to work towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced and enhancing carbon sequestration is not going away, Dr Williams added. “Buyers, retailers, consumers, they are all interested in the carbon footprint of farm produce.’’

Many of the farmers had signed up for the interactive masterclass because, although they were aware of carbon foot-printing, they wanted to know more.

One aspect involved breaking down the ‘carbon jargon’, with Dr Williams unpicking the meaning behind terms like net zero, decarbonisation and carbon dioxide equivalent.

A discussion also encouraged farmers to consider the source of greenhouse gas emissions on their own farms, as well as opportunities for carbon sequestration.