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25 August 2023

The first Agriculture Act made in Wales has received Royal Assent, establishing the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) as the primary source of government support for farmers. The SFS aims to enable farmers to produce food and agricultural goods while addressing climate change. Farmers will receive payments for practices that benefit the environment including soil quality.

The deadline for applications for Zone 2 of the Soil Nutrient Health Scheme (SNHS) in Northern Ireland is Thursday, August 31. Farmers are encouraged to sign up as SNHS provides soil-related information for each field within a farming business. Failure to participate in the SNHS could render farmers ineligible for future farm support measures.

Farmers in the UK are grappling with extreme weather conditions, including record-breaking rainfall following a hot June, making it difficult to harvest crops, particularly wheat. They are calling for government support to maintain food production and address the challenges posed by climate change.

A farmer in Merseyside, Olly Harrison, hosted local politicians this week to raise awareness about the issues facing the farming industry, emphasizing the need for sustainable farming practices to overcome the challenges. Issues raised included adverse weather conditions and the aftermath of Brexit for farmers in the region. 

The California Department for Agriculture has released a report on belowground biodiversity with recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders to improve soil health and conserve biodiversity. It was authored by an advisory committee of soil scientists, and suggests using soil biodiversity as a key metric for assessing soil health.

A study in the US has found that applying ground-up silicate rock to Midwestern farm fields can capture significant amounts of carbon dioxide, helping to prevent it from accumulating in the atmosphere. Enhanced weathering involves applying silicate rock to farmland. As the rock weathers, it reacts with dissolved CO2 to produce bicarbonate, effectively locking up the gas.

An initiative, the British Pasture Leather, is bringing fashion and regenerative agriculture together. By sourcing hides from cattle raised on pasture, it aims to improve soil quality, and create a connection between the leather industry and soil regeneration.