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Farmers welcome launch of new Cefetra sustainability return initiative

27/11/2023
Left to Right: James Neilson, Uwe Schroeder, both Cefetra, and farmer Thomas Todd

A GROUNDBREAKING partnership initiative launched by agricultural market leader Cefetra to enable more farmers to see a financial return on sustainable practices has been backed by farm owners.

In the push to tackle climate change, Cefetra Ecosystem Services has been set up for Cefetra, a group of leading companies and brands in the animal nutrition and food and drink ingredient industries, to be the bridge between their customers tasked with sourcing sustainable suppliers and farmers wanting financial returns on sustainable farming practices. 

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Launched earlier this month, Cefetra Ecosystem Services is the first initiative to set high standards for climate positive supply chains and reward growers for adopting sustainable farming practices and is already available for UK and Irish growers’ 2024 crops.

Through practical advice backed with documented sustainability standards for produce, Cefetra will ensure benefits are provided to all supply chain partners. Cefetra will apply established methodologies to ensure trust from farmers and customers with a carbon programme compliant backed by Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) guidance, guaranteeing credibility.

Partnering with agronomy firm Soil Capital, Cefetra will offer a toolkit of products and services based on each farm’s data plus courses of action. Consumers will see produce sustainable credentials, strengthening the appeal of the Ecosystem Services farmers’ supplies to meet buyers’ ESG goals.

Farmer Thomas Todd, who farms crops in Cornhill-on-Tweed, Northumberland, is among those backing Cefetra Ecosystem Services to help farmers make the transition to reduce carbon usage. He has implemented min-till practices, cultivating land using mechanical methods other than ploughing.

He said: “Everyone in farming knows we need to make a difference but we cannot do it alone so it is fantastic to see the Cefetra Ecosystem Services initiative launched by Cefetra to help us bridge the gap with the buyers and end consumers who want evidence that our produce meets sustainability standards and for us to secure financial rewards for doing so.”

Min-till practices have worked as part of wider measures to reduce environmental impact, says Thomas. He said: “We use less nitrogen and I have not used slug pellets or insecticides in years and we do not seem to miss them. It suits our ground and our crops are looking healthier for it. We can create a good seedbed allowing our crops to establish well, resulting in yields that even in dry years remain very good.”

Thomas joined a panel of experts explaining Cefetra Ecosystem Services to an invited audience of farmers through a question and answer session at the launch at Cefetra’s Ormiston Grain Storage Facility in Scotland on Wednesday November 8.

Attendees asked the partnership members a range of questions on topics including data collection processes, the financial incentives for Cefetra Ecosystem Services, the requirements of end users and the certification system being implemented for farmers. 

Uwe Schroeder, Head of Cefetra Ecosystem Services for Cefetra Group, said: “With Cefetra Ecosystem Services the main aim is to get as much money as possible and in a transparent way to the farmer. Cefetra gives a guarantee of 70 per cent of the carbon claims going to the farmer, with the rest going on administration, marketing and profit.”

He added: “The certificate is a way to make the process measurable and verifiable to prove that the grain is improved.” 

Andrew Voysey, Chief Impact Officer for Soil Capital, said: “Sitting behind each carbon certificate is one tonne either in the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or of increased carbon storage in the soil. The average rate of certificate generation we have seen so far on land producing all sorts of crops is up to two certificates per hectare.”

Shona Robison, the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance for Scotland, attended the Cefetra Ecosystem Services launch, meeting with Cefetra Ltd CEO Andrew Mackay as well as Scottish farmers taking part in the scheme, independent agronomists, the Agricultural Industries Confederation, Cefetra customers and initiative partners.

Cefetra Ecosystem Services: For more information about the international farming programme, please visit https://cefetra.co.uk/ecosystem-services/

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