EAST OF ENGLAND AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY, founded 1797

‘The Carbon Conversation’ lived up to its name!

On Thursday 31 March, ‘The Carbon Conversation’ kicked off the first event in our freshly updated series of events taking place at Shuttleworth College in Bedfordshire. For almost the last 20 years, the Shuttleworth Lecture has been a cornerstone in the Society’s calendar of events featuring talks from the likes of the former NFU president, Sir Peter Kendall and the Director-General of the CLA, Sarah Hendry. After two years of cancellations, 2022 welcomes a fresh new look with our multi-event format titled ‘The Shuttleworth Series’ with our first event exploring the world of carbon, regenerative farming and opportunities within carbon markets.

The event kicked off with a welcome from our Society Vice-Chairman, Charlie Reynolds who passed the baton over to Phil Jarvis, the Chair of Albanwise Farming and Environment and also our panel chairman for the evening.

Our first speaker and a man of many hats was Tim Field. Tim is the founder of the knowledge exchange platform, Agricology, Carbon Quester, and also the North East Cotswolds Farmer Cluster. Tim began by talking about how Carbon Quester is working with Rothamsted to get a better understanding of measuring soil carbon and how different soil compositions can impact this. He then went on to explain how Agricology has created a platform to help farmers develop their skill set to increase soil carbon levels on farms.

Our second speaker was Thomas Gent, a local farmer on the Cambridgeshire/Lincolnshire border who has been farming regeneratively for the last 14 years. Whilst looking for something to do in the first lockdown of 2020, Thomas started having a look through different carbon schemes to see if he could sell some carbon credits to try and quantify his achievements of using a sustainable approach to farming. Thomas talked us through the process of the Agreena Carbon programme, how it fits in with his business and the different opportunities that the scheme can provide.

Unfortunately, our third speaker, Peter Allen, was unable to join us for the evening’s event so we were pleased that our chairman, Phil Jarvis was able to step in. Phil explained his experiences of sustainable agricultural practices within Albanwise Farming and how the government needs to approach carbon schemes to make them attractive for farmers.

After our speaker presentations, we were thrilled to have such an engaged discussion between our audience and the panel with questions ranging from:

  • Who gets the carbon certificates in a tenant farmer scenario?
  • How can I best improve soil carbon in a potato enterprise?
  • How can we instil confidence in farmers to invest in carbon sequestration?

A drinks reception followed the event where our attendees could catch our speakers for a final few questions and have a chat with our woodland-centric trade stand featuring representatives from the Forestry Commission and the Forest of Marston Vale.

All of these questions and conversations will help us to shape our next event in ‘The Shuttleworth Series’ which will be a farm walk on Peter Allen’s farm at the Shuttleworth Estate on Friday 24 June. Keep an eye on our socials and website over the coming weeks for more information about this event.

If you weren’t able to make it on 31 March, the full event featuring the panel discussion can be found on our YouTube page by CLICKING HERE.

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