It comes in the form of a Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) partnership between Defra, the Environment Agency and Natural England.
A £3 million programme has been launched to reduce agriculture’s ammonia emissions.
It comes in the form of a Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) partnership between Defra, the Environment Agency and Natural England to support farmers in cutting their ammonia emissions by eight per cent by 2020 and 16 per cent by 2030.
Earlier this year, Defra blamed the sector for 88 per cent of all UK emissions of ammonia gas – which it said came from livestock and manure handling and fertiliser application to arable land – with a push to limit levels to those which were ’economically efficient’.
Bob Middleton, programme manager at CSF, suggested cutting ammonia emissions could boost business potential.
He said: “As custodians of the land, farmers have an important role to play in protecting the environment.
“But reducing ammonia emissions can also bring real business benefits.
“The UK loses £138m of nitrogen per year from ammonia emissions so, by taking action to reduce them, farmers can get more value from their manure and fertiliser and save money.”
The money from the scheme will fund a team of specialists who will work with farmers to implement the measures set out in the Code of Good Agricultural Practice (CoGAP) for Reducing Ammonia Emissions, announced in July.
As well as providing training events, tailored advice, individual farm visits and support with grant applications, the project will add to an already popular programme of advice to improve water quality and prevent flooding from farmed land.
A guidance video is also available with steps on handling of livestock feed and manure and fertiliser spreading.
The announcement follows last week’s publication of the Agriculture Bill, which set out proposals to reward farmers for ’public goods’ – including taking action to improve air and water quality and soil health.
Farming Minister George Eustice said the Government wanted to help farmers ’play their part’ in reducing emissions.
“The specialist team of advisers leading this project can advise farmers on steps they can take, such as improved slurry handling facilities, and grants are available where investment is required,” he added.
CLA president Tim Breitmeyer said the industry was ‘working hard’ to reduce ammonia emissions and the Association welcomed the support of the new programme to ensure the environmental impact was reduced ‘while not compromising productive output’.
He said: “The post-Brexit payment for public goods approach must create a workable framework for food production to go hand in hand with environmental enhancement.
“The CLA’s proposed Land Management Contract system sets out how the payment for public goods approach can enable landowners and farmers to deliver a greater range of benefits to society and to the environment, including air quality improvement.”