Four businesses will work with Coleg Cambria Llysfasi Farm and the North Wales Economic Ambition Board (NWEAB) to help North Wales farms reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The farming sector has committed to reducing emissions from agriculture, which contributed 12% of overall Welsh greenhouse gas emissions in 2016. Working as a part of the Welsh Government’s Whole System Business Research Innovation for Decarbonisation scheme (WBRID), the businesses will receive up to £25,000 each to provide innovative solutions to achieve this goal.
The sector is a pillar to the North Wales economy, employing 7% of the regional workforce and contributing over £370 million to the economy each year. Recognising the importance of the sector and the need for reducing emissions, Dewi Jones, Coleg Cambria Llysfasi Farm Manager, is excited to be a part of this scheme. Dewi said:
“We are now working in collaboration with the innovative organisations selected and looking to identify ways of reducing greenhouses gases and implementing sustainable processes that will contribute to the development of the net zero farm project in the future."
The Net Zero Farm is one of the Growth Deal projects within the NWEAB's Agri-food and Tourism Programme. Portfolio Director Alwen Williams is leading the team involved with the Programme, Alwen said:
“Having grown up on a farm, I know first-hand how integral agriculture, as well as the businesses and industries founded on it, are to the North Wales economy. There is also a growing urgency to respond to climate change and the reduction of emissions.
These four innovative projects will test new concepts, technologies and ways of working that put North Wales, its residents and communities at the heart of driving this change.
Llysfasi’s Net Zero Farm is one of our North Wales Growth Deal projects, which when delivered will support 400 businesses in the region to decarbonise and diversify. This is an exciting first step on the journey to Net Zero farming”.
One of the successful businesses of the WBRID scheme is Anglesey science and innovation business complex, M-SParc. Three businesses from the complex are collaborating with Coleg Cambria Llysfasi to explore the potential for drones to identify and treat on-farm issues such as weed growth. The project could reduce emissions from diesel vehicles and reduce the volume of chemicals needed through the targeted application of weed killer.
Pryderi ap Rhisiart, Managing Director of M-Sparc will be leading on the development of this project said:
"Our ambition for the project is to be a catalyst for long-term behavioural change. Through supporting the environment, reducing health and safety risks and demonstrating the art of the possible, we are raising the bar in technology and innovation in agriculture right here from rural North Wales".
Another North Wales-based business that will be delivering the work for the Net Zero Farm is Fre-Energy Limited, Wrexham. Their work will test the potential for outputs from on-farm Anaerobic Digestion systems to support regenerative and low-emission farming methods that improve soil health and fertility.
Denise Nicholls, Managing Director of Fre-Energy Limited, is behind the developments of the project, says:
"Developing a Net Zero Farm challenge aligns with the Fre-energy philosophy and its potential to deliver a resilient, sustainable, and net zero carbon economy.
Rural commercial-industrial facilities can benefit from green energy produced; such as the creation of jobs, strengthening the local economy and community. It is a potential game-changer and a catalyst for improving farming’s productive efficiency and impact".
Two of the other successful businesses a part of this scheme are Promar International Ltd, Cheshire and The BioFactory, Oxfordshire.
For more on North Wales Economic Ambition Board, visit www.northwaleseab.co.uk or follow their social media @buegogleddcymru and @northwaleseab.