A Cumbrian farm has started on its journey to becoming net-zero.
“We are enthusiastic about the changes that can be made to the farm,” said Jenny Bowes, who runs Ghyll Bank Farm near Orton with husband Lenny.
They are one of ten farms in either the Yorkshire Dales National Park or Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) about to undergo a full ‘carbon audit’.
Contractors from Farm Carbon Toolkit will visit each of the ten farms during the next few months to make a detailed assessment of feed, fertiliser, slurry and diesel use together with an assessment of possible carbon sequestration.
Even smaller details – such as the type of fencing posts and wire being used – will be looked at.
Plans will then be drawn up to identify actions that could be taken to make the farms more sustainable and put them on a path towards achieving ‘net-zero’ carbon dioxide emissions.
Jenny and Lenny Bowes became tenants of Ghyll Bank Farm last year and manage 1,000 sheep, 70 suckler cows and six sows, as well as turkeys for Christmas, on 600 acres of grassland.
Mrs Bowes said: “We want to know how we can reduce our carbon emissions, and how we can do that while maintaining and improving the business. We are concerned about the future of the environment and we just want to make it better. We are enthusiastic about the changes that can be made to the farm.”
Lenny Bowes added: “We try to farm quite regeneratively but we need to get a better understanding of what we do and how it affects our carbon footprint.
“We’re hoping that by next year we’ll have the information we need to put together an action plan to make changes. We are looking for data written down in a form that other people can make use of.”
The Nidderdale AONB half of the ‘Farm Carbon Project’ is being funded by Yorkshire Water, while the National Park half is being funded by the National Park Authority. The project has also received a £5,000 contribution from the North Yorkshire and York Local Enterprise Partnership.