A net zero checklist
for farmers and agricultural workers
To support the UK Government's 2050 net zero commitment, organisations in every sector must begin their journey to net zero.
The National Farmers' Union (NFU) has set an even more ambitious target of 2040 for the agricultural sector, meaning farmers and agricultural workers have less than 20 years to be fully compliant.
Our online checklist is designed to guide you through the process, helping you to save money by maximising your efficiencies and minimising your carbon footprint at the same time.
1. Measurement & Benchmarking
Starting your journey to net zero will look different for every farm. It's important to find an action plan tailored specifically to your needs which works within your budget restrictions. As a first step, we recommend using a carbon calculating service to measure your carbon footprint. This will allow you to identify sources of emissions on your farm and any potential cost savings, as well as create a benchmark for you to work against.
✔️ Measure your farm's carbon footprint using carbon calculating services, like an online calculator
✔️ Document the results for benchmarking to keep yourself accountable
✔️ Outline a budget and implementation strategy
2. Renewable Energy Supply & Onsite Generation
Prioritising renewable energy usage and onsite generation is an efficient way to reduce your Scope 2 carbon emissions and can help you to diversify your revenue streams.
✔️ Switch to a renewable energy supplier
✔️ Install a smart meter to help you understand your energy usage and look for ways to optimise your usage
✔️ Install LED lighting and insulation to reduce energy usage
✔️ Review the option for anaerobic digestion to turn manure and by-products into renewable energy
3. Land & Environment
Efficient land & environment management can help fight climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Soils are the second largest carbon sink after our oceans, so effective management is critical. Meanwhile, planting trees and restoring the UK's peatlands is a key part of decarbonising our country in line with the UK's transition to net zero.
✔️ Plant trees and hedgerows in appropriate locations to sequester carbon and restore wildlife habitats
✔️ Restore and preserve peatlands
✔️ Loosen compacted soils and improve soil health by maintaining cover crops, minimising tillage and planting trees
4. Livestock & Feed
Improving your farm's livestock & feed management will enable you to reduce the emissions produced by cows and sheep. These are estimated to be around 5% of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions.
✔️ Prioritise the health of animals to reduce methane emissions
✔️ Feed livestock a sustainable diet (no soya, palm oil etc.)
✔️ Use feed additives to reduce methane emissions from cows and sheep
5. Transport & Machinery
Farm machinery traditionally uses heavily polluting rebate (red) diesel. However, new and emerging technologies are enabling farmers to reduce their carbon emissions and create new revenue streams by transitioning to zero- or low-emission alternatives.
✔️ Prioritise energy efficient transport and machinery, including those which run on electricity
✔️ Optimise electric assets with support from a flexibility provider
✔️ Install EV charging facilities for customers
6. Productivity & Staffing
A large part of any farm's path to net zero revolves around improving agricultural productivity to reduce your carbon footprint. Reducing nitrous oxide and methane emissions is the top priority, which can be done by leveraging new technologies and sustainable practices.
✔️ Precision farming for crops to deliver nutrients and more efficient crop protection
✔️ Invest in Agri-tech such as robotics, drones, and livestock monitoring
✔️ Use controlled-release fertilisers and inhibitors to increase the efficient use of nitrogen and reduce emissions
✔️ Review your food management strategy to reduce waste
✔️ Focus on upskilling the next generation of farmers to more environmentally friendly practices
For more advice on creating and implementing a net zero action plan, visit our Agriculture page.Sustainability for Agriculture