Improving sustainability through innovation

Tackling climate change in farming and food production.

Projects with a specific focus on efficiency, cutting emissions and improving environmental performance have been selected as part of the next round of the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KTIF).

The new funding worth almost £63,000, will support projects that will explore ways to help reduce emissions and tackle climate change in farming and food production and could result in the creation of jobs in the rural economy.

Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment Ben Macpherson said:

“Projects like these help farmers and crofters in rural and island communities to explore new ways of protecting and restoring biodiversity, habitats and ecosystems. 

“It is important that our recovery from the pandemic delivers a greener economy. That’s why the Scottish Government has invested almost £6 million in a range of different projects that will help us to grow a sustainable, vibrant and innovative rural economy.”


The Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund is delivered through the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) 2014-20. The scheme will fund these knowledge transfer based projects to promote improved environmental performance skills development and understanding in the sector.

Newly Approved Projects

Demystifying Sensor Farming - Facilitated by Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) - £25,350

This project seeks to support family farms and crofters to embrace the potential of new technology around sensors and digital farming in order to facilitate the gathering of actionable data, that will optimise for profitability and sustainability. LoRaWAN and sensor technology has the potential to revolutionise agriculture with smart, data driven processes to improve efficiency and decision-making.  Solving problems on farm and helping farmers meet the ever-increasing demands from consumers and processors, whilst protecting the natural environment.

Intelligence derived from this data can flow from sensor technology in agriculture presents Scottish farmers with a golden opportunity to improve the management of farm businesses leading to improved efficiency, productivity, resilience and ultimately profitability.  New smart sensing technology allows farmers to remotely monitor their livestock and crops in real time.  This allows them to take remedial action quicker, leading to improved animal/crop health, welfare and performance. Sensor technology also benefits the natural environment reducing waste, monitoring soil health and wildlife.

Agroforestry in Action – Facilitated by Soil Association (Scotland) - £29,925

The aim of the project is to increase awareness and understanding amongst farmers, crofters and other rural stakeholders of the opportunities for agroforestry in Scotland and its benefits for productive and sustainable farming, resource efficient land management, the environment, nature and a safe climate.

By promoting the wider uptake of agroforestry as a viable land management practice, the project will support the SRDP/EU-RDR criteria and key Scottish Government policies for:

  • climate change and net-zero – by reducing GHG emissions, sequestering carbon and enabling agricultural business to adapt to climate change.
  • resource efficiency, environmental performance and sustainability – by improving soil health, managing water flow, enhancing productivity and boosting animal welfare.
  • rural development – by supporting diversification, increasing business resilience and building strong rural economies.
  • biodiversity – by encouraging wildlife, reducing pollution, enhancing ecosystem services and increasing ecological connectivity.

Bringing Biodiversity Back – Facilitated by Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) - £7,590

This project aims to highlight existing work undertaken on farms, crofts and estates in four specific regions of Scotland to promote activities and practice that aim to increase biodiversity whilst ensuring financial sustainability for farming operations. The project aims to ensure ongoing impact by using these initial workshop sessions as a starting point for a facilitated community of practice to offer support and guidance to each of the four regions in developing their nature friendly farming work.

This project aims to:

  • share existing nature friendly farming practice across a range of farm and croft types across four regions in Scotland.
  • create regionally context specific communities to develop nature friendly farming networks and create a supportive community to guide, advise and share practices to bring back biodiversity to farmed landscapes.
  • create a legacy resource in the form of a film to highlight existing practice and share potential actions to enable the restoring, preserving and enhancing of biodiversity.
  • establish a network who will benefit from future activity to develop biodiversity identification skills.


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