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20 October 2023

The Red Tractor’s announcement last week to introduce new voluntary environmental labelling has been faced with criticism from farmers and their representatives. This is due to fears that it could require increased spending for farmers, with no change in price paid by retailers, and a concern that the optional scheme could soon become mandatory.  

The Wildlife Trusts, RSPB, Woodland Trust, and the National Trust have jointly introduced a set of guidelines with the goal of bolstering the credibility and efficiency of carbon and nature credit markets, which include soil carbon. The aim of the guidelines is to ensure that nature markets deliver genuine environmental gains, and don’t enable corporate greenwashing. 

Drinks giant Diageo has announced plans to launch its regenerative agriculture programmes in Scotland and Mexico. The £1 billion investment will aim to see better soil management practices implemented, improve biodiversity and reduce carbon emissions. This comes as General Mills and Walmart announce the launch of similar schemes in the US.  

Riverford organic farm is undertaking a project in Devon to understand how peat can be removed from the growing of salad crops with the aim of developing a peat-free soil block which holds together for machine planting and provides plants with sufficient nutrients.  

New research published by the University of Córdoba shows that using cover crops in Mediterranean olive groves can reduce carbon loss by over 75%. During a four-year investigation, scientists observed a decrease in runoff, erosion, and soil organic carbon loss by planting vegetation in olive groves to keep soil covered.  

Gardeners in the US are being encouraged by conservation organisations not to clear away fallen leaves this autumn, highlighting their importance as habitats for wildlife and to soil health. By leaving them where they fall, leaves can act as a natural fertiliser for soils as they break down and return nutrients to the ground.  

Finally, the Earthworm Society of Britain are encouraging people to celebrate World Worm Day on Saturday 21 October, providing an opportunity to celebrate the creatures that are so vital yet underappreciated. Follow #WorldWormDay #EarthwormsAreImportant on social media to stay up to date.