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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Promoting sustainable farming practices

As Euractiv recently reported, a group of young European farmers is encouraging a shift to sustainable agriculture. The campaigners, which hope Brussels policymakers take note, are promoting farming practices that conserve resources, reduce emissions and improve the land through less intensive chemical use. They aim to influence the future of European Union’s farm support programme, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
As policy debates and research into what can be done to reduce the environmental footprint of food production are not always likely to translate into useable information for farmers, Sander Kerkhoffs, one of the leaders of the Climate Farmers project said: “A lot of research is done by universities and other institutions, but a lot of those results from the research don’t fit to the practical circumstances at the farm level”. He said that they want “to look at practical measures which are already implemented on some farms which have proven their effect in lowering emissions, for example, or can be further introduced to colleague farmers.”
Remarkably, Climate Farmers has produced information on sustainable farming methods in several EU countries, such as Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden, and wants to share their recommendations across Europe. The campaigners moreover use case studies to show that farmers can play a role in trimming carbon emissions, cutting pesticide and fertiliser use, and reducing their water footprint while improving crop output and animal husbandry.

Source: Euractiv