Farming is a key area for attention since it is responsible for 74% of the business’s total carbon footprint.
In 2020, Yeo Valley Farms, with the help of the Farm Carbon Toolkit (FCT), sampled their 809ha (2,000 acres) of farmland to get an indication of soil carbon levels.
Their reasoning was linked to figures from Iowa State University, which showed soils store more carbon than the atmosphere and all of the world’s plants and forests combined.
Tim Mead, director of Yeo Valley Farms, says it is important to recognise this “huge climate asset”, determine base level carbon stocks and ways to raise them.
With one-third more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than 60 years ago, he believes regenerative agriculture is part of the solution to reversing climate change.
Regenerative farming is focused on agricultural practices that build soil health and increase biodiversity and water cycling with the aim of fighting climate change.
Raising soil organic matter is one way to bolster soil’s carbon storage potential, while also bringing production benefits.
Becky Willson, business development and technical director for FCT, says: “There is a really nice link [between] soil organic matter, soil organic carbon, soil resilience and soil health.” (See “The numbers”).
This means building organic matter and carbon can help with factors such as nutrient cycling, water infiltration and production of quality forage.