Rugby referee helps farmers to ‘go green’

RUGBY referee Nigel Owens has teamed up with Barclays Bank to help farmers cut their carbon dioxide emissions.

Owens, who farms cattle at Pontyberem in Wales, is the face of a campaign by the bank to lend £250 million to farmers to help them buy or lease equipment.

The ” Sustainability Through Agri-Tech” loans aim to accelerate the move to net-zero carbon dioxide emissions.

A survey by the bank found that 84% of Scottish farmers think they could be carbon neutral by 2035, ten years ahead of the Scottish Government’s national target.

Owens said: “It’s great we’re starting to talk more about how farmers can further enhance the environment and be part of the climate change solution while keeping the nation fed and healthy, which is especially important at times like this.

“I’m a proud owner of 35 Herefordshire cows, and cattle play an important role in the ecosystem when managed properly.

“Grassland is very good at capturing carbon from out of the atmosphere, and soil is key to carbon sequestration policies, an underrated solution to tackling climate change.

“I’ll continue to plant more trees and will look into technologies that can help the farm to become more efficient too.”

Graeme McNaughton, national agriculture director for Barclays in Scotland, said: “There’s already a huge amount of work going on across Scottish farming enterprises of all types so their businesses can reach the carbon net zero goal by 2045.

“It’s also encouraging to see consumers willing to pay for carbon-neutral foods, as we all consider our role in helping the industry become carbon neutral from farm to fork.

“Without doubt, investment in technologies will play a part in businesses becoming carbon neutral, but it’s important that we continue to support the sector in the supply chain, both as an industry and with government policy.

“We also know that 70% of Scottish farmers want access to further financial support from their bank to invest in this type of technology, with 61% believing it could increase job opportunities and will dramatically change the type of skills the sector requires over the coming years.

“Our research shows the average Scottish farmer set to invest £187,663 over the next decade to achieve greater efficiency and become more sustainable.”

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