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Challenges of sustainable farming

I have come to the conclusion that I should start farming, because I became increasingly more concerned about what was happening to the climate. And we originally just followed what the previous farmer did for about a year or so. But pretty soon, we decided we need to make various changes in order to farm in way which will not be affected or not much affected by climate change.
To start with, it’s a question of which animals or which breed of animals one chooses to farm. If you choose highly developed breeds, such as the continental breeds and cows, and various UK breeds and sheep, you’ll find that there are various problems with it. If you choose a breed, which is old and traditional, then you are much more likely to have a herd that they can basically look after themselves. So what breeds do you have here? The cows are Red Rubies, also known as North Devon cows, that have been developed in Devon and Cornwall. And the sheep are Wiltshire Horn sheep. And so selling their meat is basically your main source of income, is that right? It is.
It is I suppose about 3/4 of income. The other quarter comes in from farm subsidies and selling our renewable energy to the grid. How do you make sure that the whole value chain of these products is carbon neutral as well? We look at every aspect of what we are doing and arranging things in such a way that it will have no environmental impact or a minimal environmental impact. We market directly to end users so that we are in control where our meat is and how it’s delivered and so on. And we then deliver those boxes ourselves to our end customers, using our carbon neutral transport so that even the delivery itself is environmentally friendly.
Do you find that policies and regulations are sort of enabling you to do this? Do you think you get support from the government or through regulations to farm this way or do you think it’s harder or easier then to farm in a conventional way? Well, we get support through– additional support through being organic. So as an organic farm, the subsidies slightly larger than it would be otherwise. But really this idea of self-sufficiency and climate sensitive farming that is not at all supported by any scheme that I know of. Is there any advice you would give to someone who wants to make this transition to climate friendly sustainable farming from conventional farming?
Is there any advice you would give someone like that? Well, I would say, I would say go with it and try it out and do it, because it’s a really nice, interesting novel way of farming. And you will produce really healthy food. And the animals are going to be happy. It’s a really pleasant way to farm.

In this video Paul Sousek, owner of Cottage Farm, speaks about the difficulties associated with farming sustainably.

Cottage farm is only one of an endless number of examples for agricultural businesses that are making an effort to be environmentally sustainable. Do you know of an environmental or climate friendly farm or food produced where you live? If so tell us more about them in the comment area! You can also contribute to the discussion by adding a ‘like’ or reply to comments made by your fellow learners.

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The Future of Farming: Exploring Climate Smart Agriculture

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