9. Scotland at the Forefront
The DSCCG recognises that existing technologies and adaptation measures alone are not likely to be enough to meet the current targets set by the Scottish Government for the emissions reductions by the agriculture industry. Notwithstanding our recommendations elsewhere in this report regarding the methodology of setting agricultural emissions targets, the DSCCG believes that by embracing innovation Scotland could be a world leader in how its agriculture industry contributes towards a carbon neutral economy.
The DSCCG believes that there can be a win-win scenario because the dairy sector can not only meet climate change obligations but benefit the industry by being able to access premium 'carbon positive' markets within Scotland, UK and export markets.
9.1 A Centre of Excellence
Scotland has the benefit of world leading climate change academics and research facilities for agriculture. The DSCCG recommends the bringing the various assets we have together into an Agricultural Climate Change Centre of Excellence. By creating a forum which brings together public, private and industry expertise in this area we could accelerate the pace of innovation and research, as well as inform and educate all sectors of the industry.
The Centre would have scientific research and innovation at its heart, but with close links to farmers, advisers, suppliers, processors and retailers, with a multi-way flow of information and ideas sharing. There should also be a significant designated role in communication with the media, to counter the tendency for reductive bias in the agricultural climate debate and provide a science-based approach to communication. The Centre of Excellence should not replicate the work of existing bodies but provide a single platform for communication and collaboration to accelerate the change needed.
In addition to the funding of new research which will fill the gaps in knowledge on carbon mitigation and sequestration in agriculture, there are many measures which have known benefits. Transferring the knowledge of this research in an effective and practical way is critical. Practical demonstrations will play a vital role, with a combination of net zero demonstration farms, events to share best practice, training days etc. Training and knowledge transfer is also imperative for advisers to farmers and should be incorporated into their CPD requirements. This will be an effective way to disseminate the knowledge by generating a pyramid structure of information flow.
- Creation of an Agricultural Climate Change Centre of Excellence as a single entity with scientific research and innovation at its heart, but with close links to farmers, advisers, suppliers, processors and retailers. Improved cross-industry communication, collaboration, knowledge transfer would be its core function, together with media communication.
Refer to Annex 4 – Recommendations and Support Required