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Cabinet Secretary Visits Pioneer Climate Change Focus Farm During COP26

Kilmarnock NFU Scotland member demonstrates to Mairi Gougeon how they are farming for a better climate

During COP26, the Kerr family hosted Cabinet Minister for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon to their dairy business at Woodhead Farm, Newmilns, Ayrshire, to demonstrate how they are farming for a better climate.

During the visit, Chair of NFU Scotland’s Kilmarnock Branch, John Kerr, spoke about the steps the family business has taken to reduce emissions during and since Woodhead’s time as a Climate Change Focus Farm from 2014 to 2018.



The farm has focussed on regenerative steps to make the most from grass and its amazing carbon sequestering properties, using a dribble bar for slurry applications, more efficient milk cooling systems and much more.

Commenting on the special visit John said: “Whilst all eyes have been on the COP26 climate change conference taking place in the city of Glasgow, we were delighted to meet the Cabinet Minister and show first-hand how Ayrshire’s dairy and livestock farmers are taking action on climate change.  We are minimising our impact on the environment, sequestering carbon in our pastures all whilst continuing to produce nutritious food and underpinning the local economy.”  

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Agriculture has an important role to play in tackling the climate crisis and it is hugely encouraging to see how at Woodhead Farm, the Kerrs are demonstrating that what is good for the environment can also be sound business practice.

“Through engagement with our Farming for a Better Climate initiative it is estimated that John and Anne have reduced their farm’s carbon footprint by around 6% and saved £63,000, with no loss of production. They also received a grant through the pilot Sustainable Agricultural Grant Scheme for a Dribble Bar slurry spreading attachment.

“The Scottish Government is committed to transforming the way we support farming and food production to become a global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

“Our initiatives include the National Test Programme, which will invest up to £51 million over three years in supporting farmers and crofters to tackle climate change, improve the environment and support biodiversity. In addition, the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme will reopen for funding in 2022 to support the ambition of doubling the amount of land under organic management, set out in the Programme for Government 2021-22.”  

Notes to Editors

  • Photo caption – John and Anne Kerr welcomed Scottish Cabinet Minister for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon to Woodhead Farm to show the action being taken on Ayrshire farms to produce nutritious food whilst reducing emissions and enhancing biodiversity. From l to r – Anne Kerr, Mairi Gougeon, John Kerr.
  • A case study on Woodhead’s time as a pioneering climate change focus farm can be read at: https://www.farmingforabetterclimate.org/climate_change_focus_farms/woodhead-farm-ayrshire-dairy/


Ends

Contact Christine Cuthbertson on 07775 838926

Date Published:

News Article No.: 135/21


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