The chatter around carbon is reaching a crescendo with non-stop discussion on carbon audits; carbon capture; carbon off-setting; carbon storage; carbon sequestration; carbon codes and of course, not forgetting carbon credits. Mike Halliday looks at what it all means and what actions (if any) should Scottish farmers and landowners be taking in relation to carbon;
- the carbon industry is very much in its infancy;
- it is largely unregulated with carbon “speculators” trying to “get in on the ground floor”;
- industry leaders are advising farmers and landowners NOT to sell carbon credits at this time;
- credits will likely be needed to assist farmers own businesses to be carbon neutral;
- it is likely that the value of credits will increase (possibly significantly) over time; and,
- in an unregulated market, farmers risk entering into contracts that they might find difficult to honour over a long period of time.
WHAT CAN FARMERS DO?
The most practical thing that a farming business can do is to start looking at the carbon produced by their own business and see what changes can be made to reduce carbon output and increase efficiency.
- If a business can reduce its carbon output, it may have carbon credits available to trade as the market develops;
- it may attract more subsidy money from government moving forward – for the Sustainable Agriculture Capital Grant Scheme (SACGS), farmers who had undertaken a Carbon Audit scored additional points; and,
- carbon efficient business may be more attractive with buyers looking for “low carbon” suppliers.
A Carbon Audit is an efficiency tool for your business – it calculates your carbon footprint on an enterprise basis. The figures are then benchmarked against farmers operating a similar system to give an idea where a business is preforming well or might be able to make an improvement. Often the most carbon efficient businesses are the most profitable.
Farmers who are registered for IACS can receive up to £500 to undertake a Carbon Audit through the Farm Advisory Service. The money pays for an FBAASS accredited advisor to assist with entering the information and highlighting areas where efficiency might be improved.
All BPS applications from this year onwards must be done online. Greening requirements are unchanged from last year.
With the BPS Scheme guaranteed to be in place until at least 2024, the purchase of BPS Entitlements still represents a very good buy. Currently youngsRPS have a number of Region 1 & 2 Entitlements available for sale.
Scottish Government announced a new round of AECS applications, which opened on the 24th January. Full details are available online. Slurry storage is included as an option for those who are in “priority area".
To discuss any of the above contact our Dumfries team today Tel: 01387 402 277 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org