The ArcZero project offers us hope for the future
But fundamentally, ARCZero represents a message of hope for the future.
Yes, at a very strategic level the project will provide the framework, which will be used to contextualise the targets set out in the climate change legislation agreed by Stormont earlier this year.
But more than that, ARC Zero will help identify fundamental management changes that can be introduced to every local farm in a very simple way. Much of this messaging will be delivered under the banner: “Improved efficiency will lead to a reduced carbon footprint”.
And, of course, improving efficiency will also help improve profits for every agricultural business.
About 300 people attended the farm walk, recently organized by the Harbison family.
Their Aghadowey farm looked like an absolute picture.
But more than that, visitors attending the event had a unique opportunity to assess what can be done to set meaningful targets that can align both production and the factors that determine the size of the carbon footprint. created by an agricultural enterprise.
But ARC Zero also serves to profile another equally important message.
Yes, farming for carbon is the future.
But governments and consumers/retailers will have to pay farmers for the carbon they manage.
The government is already embracing this principle, with respect to energy companies and their policies regarding the future use of fossil fuels.
The fact is that farmers manage the largest carbon reservoirs in the country: it’s in our soils, our forests, our trees and our hedgerows.
The same approach must therefore be adopted by the government, with regard to production agriculture.
And no better man to espouse this principle than ARCZero President, Professor John Gilliland.
To be honest, I’ve been very circumspect about the agriculture industry’s ability to respond effectively to climate change.
On returning home, I realized that climate change represents the greatest opportunity that local agriculture has faced in my entire life!