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Agriculture and land use

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The report recommends a set of initiatives by which Wales can maintain its food production while at the same time cutting emissions of greenhouse gases.
This strategy outlines the Welsh Government’s Rural Affairs policy direction through to 2020.
The Welsh Government’s vision is for a profitable, efficient, sustainable and innovative Welsh red meat industry.
The Welsh Government’s ambition is for a strong, dynamic, market focused Welsh dairy industry.
Sheep and cows

We know less about effective interventions to reduce emissions in agriculture and land use. This is because most emissions are not from carbon dioxide but other greenhouse gases.

The emissions occur from processes in natural systems, which are very complex and less predictable

The Agriculture and land use emissions target is to reduce to between 4.07 and 4.97 MtCO2e, against a baseline of 5.57 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e).

The agriculture and land use sector is responsible for approximately a fifth of the emissions covered by our 3% target. Since 1990 the emissions in this sector have been decreasing. This is due to reduced livestock numbers and improvements in farm practices.

Actions

Our actions to reduce emissions in the agriculture and land use sector include:

  • agriculture and land management schemes targeted at reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • additional woodland creation
  • advice and support for farmers
  • red meat and dairy roadmaps.

Our approach to reducing emissions

In 2010, the Land Use and Climate Change Sub Group of the Climate Change Commission produced a report. It assessed the science on emissions from:

  • agriculture
  • land use
  • food sectors in Wales.

The report also outlined a way forward for these sectors to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. We welcomed the report and have accepted many of the recommendations.

Farming, Food & Countryside - Building a Secure Future sets out a clear vision of Welsh farming at the heart of a sustainable countryside and profitable rural economy. Tackling the causes of climate change is central to achieving this vision.

Progress

The latest emissions data from this sector is at 6.04 Mt CO2e which is an increase  by 1.2% above the baseline.

Our ambition is to reduce emissions from agriculture and to protect and increase the carbon stocks in soils and biomass, whilst also supporting the sustainable growth of agriculture and farming businesses. This ambition is reflected in our various policies and strategies including:

  • the Glastir sustainable land management scheme
  • Woodlands for Wales
  • Dairy and Red Meat environmental road maps
  • our forthcoming Action Plan for the Food and Drinks Sector.

Agriculture and forestry are extremely sensitive to the climate. Our aim is to build resilience in the agricultural and land use sector to our changing Climate. This can be done by harnessing the opportunities from a warmer and longer growing season and ensuring that ecosystem services are maintained – all of which will help to strengthen the rural economy and communities that live there.