Dr Jayne Brookman
Chief Partnership Officer, EIT Food
With targets to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, farmers need to be supported to raise livestock more sustainably.
Livestock farming is under pressure to reduce GHG emissions that are caused by animals such as cattle that release large quantities of methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere.
Priorities in supporting livestock farmers
EIT Food, in collaboration with Innovate UK KTN, explored how the ruminant livestock industry in the UK and Ireland can achieve net zero by 2050 and identified six priority areas:
- An urgent need for an internationally agreed and standardised measurement system to monitor GHGs from the livestock industry so that changes or interventions can be monitored and verified over time.
- Introducing policies that reward farmers to support the transition to net zero. Farmers should have an opportunity to provide input into new policies or strategies to ensure they are fair and achievable.
- Promoting land management strategies. This includes transitioning to agroecological or regenerative agriculture practices that can enrich soils and increase biodiversity.
- Expanding the number of demonstrator farms to enable research, knowledge transfer and training around new technologies to accelerate the transition to net zero.
- Optimising the efficiency and productivity of livestock, which could include revising the age of ruminant livestock slaughter.
- Creating a holistic response to carbon sequestration to ensure higher yields from high-quality soil that absorbs carbon from the atmosphere.
The ruminant livestock industry has a critical role to play in achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
Enabling the transition in the livestock industry
The priority areas need further exploration. However, they act as a starting point for farmers, investors and policymakers to take meaningful action that will support the ruminant livestock industry to achieve net zero targets.
“The ruminant livestock industry has a critical role to play in achieving net zero emissions by 2050. To help this transition take effect, input and support are required from all players along the food supply chain,” says Dr Jayne Brookman, Chief Partnership Officer at EIT Food.
EIT Food is the world’s largest food innovation community which is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, a body of the European Union.