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What does it mean to be climate smart?

There have been repeated calls for a climate smart revolution in farming. A report by the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change published earlier this year suggested that agriculture needs to undergo fundamental changes if we are going to be able to generate enough food to provide for the expected massive increases in the world’s population. But what does it mean to be climate smart?

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines climate smart farming as agriculture that:

sustainably increases productivity, resilience (adaptation), reduces/removes greenhouse gases (mitigation) while enhancing the achievement of national food security and development goals.

Whilst the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) defines sustainable agriculture in part as:

ensuring the continuing availability to the consumer of adequate supplies of wholesome, varied and reasonably priced food, produced in accordance with generally accepted environmental and social standards.

However, our land delivers a lot more than food. Historically it has always provided food, fuel and fibre and we need this to continue. But now demand for all the things the soil provides is increasing, and we need to produce more from the same land at the same time as enhancing the soil, protecting the environment and supporting biodiversity. In recognition of this challenge we have invited Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director and Trustee of Forum for the Future, to discuss how anaerobic digestion can help farmers to be climate smart and diversify sustainably at the ADBA National Conference 2012.

The benefits of AD to farming are many, including helping to keep operational costs down by producing energy and digestate biofertiliser on-site, and reducing the use – and therefore cost – of fertilisers and pesticides. AD also provides additional revenue streams from the energy generated and better use of break and cover crops, as well as enhancing overall sustainability in terms of direct emissions, fossil fuel use (energy and transport) and supporting biodiversity.

Find out more about climate smart farming at ADBA’s National Conference 2012:

  • AD’s role in supporting climate smart farming, Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director & Trustee, Forum for the Future
  • The value of AD to the UK: economy, food and energy security and the environment, Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, Director of Grantham Institute for Climate Change and member of Committee on Climate Change (CCC)
  • Why does the market not value digestate properly? David Tompkins, Agriculture Programme Delivery Manager, WRAP, Arnold Zilverentant, Royal HaskoningDHV, James Astor, Managing Director, Agrivert, Mike King, Bio-solid Recycling Controller, GENeco
  • Making the most of limited resources – The farming perspective, Adam Quinney, Vice President, NFU
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