Mike Powley

Source: ABP

Farmers have already signed up to be involved in the scheme, including Mike Powley who said it would be a ‘useful exercise to benchmark ourselves’

ABP has announced an investment of £1.5m into a sustainability programme which will support 350 of its farmer suppliers and share wider learnings across the UK beef and sheep sectors.

The meat company’s new programme, called Prism 2030, will provide farmers with a support framework initially over two to three years to help participants improve their carbon footprint and sustainability across farms.

The detailed programme will include assessment of carbon footprint, soil Health and water use, and support biodiversity creation and resource efficiency.

The aim is to reduce carbon emissions per kilogram of meat produced.

“British red meat production is amongst the most sustainable in the world, but we can and must do more because as an industry, we are well placed to be part of the climate solution,” said Dean Holroyd, group technical and sustainability director for ABP.

Holroyd explained the ABP team hoped the initative “will play a part in helping beef and sheep farmers across the country become the global leaders in sustainable meat production – with lower emissions, lower costs and improved productivity”.

A sustainability grant will also be available, alongside peer-to-peer learning and expert advice.

The programme is supported by Harper Adams University and The Andersons Centre to ensure farmers have ongoing access to and feedback from the latest environmental innovations and methodologies.

The collaboration with Andersons is led by partner and senior research consultant Michael Haverty, who, with his team, will focus on carbon assessments and other sustainability benchmarking.

Professor Jude Capper will lead the input from Harper Adams and will be indicating what areas each producer could be focusing on over the duration of the project to achieve the most gains.

Farmers have already signed up to be involved in the scheme, including Mike Powley, who runs a mixed beef and arable farm in Yorkshire and said it would be a “useful exercise to benchmark ourselves against other UK farmers but also farmers globally”.

“We have already been exploring regenerative techniques such as no-till on the arable side of things, but if we can find new ways to push the business forward on a carbon basis, we know this will also drive efficiency across the board,” said Powley.

All farm data and tailored advice will remain confidential unless otherwise consented, but the aggregated results will be shared with the wider industry to improve industry knowledge.

“Prism 2030 aims to support beef and sheep farmers in establishing farm-based carbon and wider sustainability data, initially as a baseline before delivering wider support, including advice and equipment grants to help farmers improve thereafter,” said Richard Findlay, chair of the NFU livestock board.

“All of this helps evidence and reinforce with primary data the strong sustainability credentials where British livestock farmers sit within a world context but with further intent to progressively keep moving forward,” he added.