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YFC members seek out latest advice and technology at Low Carbon Agriculture Show

YFC members seek out latest advice and technology at Low Carbon Agriculture Show

An opportunity to attend the Low Carbon Agriculture Show with NFYFC proved to be a positive learning experience for six YFC members.

The event, which was held at Stoneleigh Park in March, is the only event focused exclusively on low-carbon practices, technology, and energy solutions available to achieve a profitable and sustainable farming future.

YFC members were invited to visit the show as part of the How Farming Can Cool the Planet project, which is funded by Farming the Future.

They were able to hear from experts, connect with farmers, see the latest technology and innovations, and find out how to manage land and soil sustainably.

New insight for dissertation

For new entrant Mollie Hooper, 23, from Presteigne YFC in Radnor, it was an opportunity to get more insight to support her Agriculture degree.

“It was a good place to network. I spoke to different businesses to see what they do and where you could go within the industry,” said Mollie about the show.

“My university dissertation is on the use of biochar so it’s very much a key carbon focus. I wanted to know what was out there in terms of that. I met someone at the show who was talking about biochar, which was helpful,” said Mollie who has her own small holding with four Pedigree Dexters, a bull and calves, despite not being from a farming family.

“I have been brought up in the countryside and always had an interest in farming. I got a job on a farm before university and wanted to take it further.”

Mollie bought sheep when she was 15 years old but was forced to sell them last year when she lost the land she was renting. Her cattle are now grazing on land her parents own but after landing a graduate job at G Fresh in Cambridgeshire, she is now having to re-think her farming plans.

“I’d love to work within agriculture. I’m not sure how practical that is in farming as there’s not many opportunities for progression. Hopefully I will work in the agri food industry and increase my farming on the side, so it becomes profitable.”

Mollie Hooper

For Chartered Accountant Timothy Charles from Diss YFC in Norfolk, the interest in attending the show was all about the technology and its environmental impact.

Timothy, who is also not from a farming background, is interested in farming and the environment.

“I have always had an interest in carbon emissions and environmental change and how we can reduce our impact. I also wanted to see the latest technology because I don’t work in farming and when new things come out, I don’t necessarily hear about it. For example, I didn’t even know the drones that can do spraying were on the market at this point – and they are,” said Timothy who will soon be starting a new job with an Agricultural Association.

New ideas for family farm

Exploring ideas to implement on the family farm was the reason Buckingham YFC member Henry Brooks wanted to attend the Low Carbon Agriculture Show.

After returning from university to his family’s 700 acre arable farm, Henry, 24, was keen to pick up ideas on how to increase productivity and reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint.

“You have an idea of what’s about but seeing other people implement those ideas in different situations is obviously nice to see,” said Henry who despite being impressed with what he saw, felt implementation costs were currently prohibitive.

“It all sounds great but it all costs a fortune. When something doesn’t have a financial reward to it it’s hard to justify,” admitted Henry.

“We are doing things on the ground, such as cover cropping, but to really reduce carbon we would need AD plants or big projects that would reduce it quite significantly. I’m trying to offset fertiliser and fuels and that’s trickier.”

Henry brought back ideas from the show to present to family and says he plans to move away for a few years to gain more experience in farm management.

“In 10-15 years, I’d like to think the whole of farming will have changed. Hopefully there will be more money in the job, which always helps, especially with implementing new ideas.”

The Low Carbon Agriculture Show is an annual event and more information can be found here.