UK dairy co-op First Milk has launched a digital tool to capture regenerative farming plans for each of its farmer members, along with an associated bonus payment for members.
It says the tool is part of its plans to hit net zero by 2040 strategy, and calls on members to complete an individual Regenerative Farming Plan by the end of March 2022.
These plans will detail farmers’ current practices and planned changes to reduce carbon emissions and increase carbon sequestration and biodiversity.
First Milk says it has worked with industry consultants Kingshay to develop “a unique digital mapping tool, to enable quick and accurate completion of regenerative plans, providing field-level data”.
The new Regenerative Farming Bonus of 0.5ppl will come into effect from April 1, 2022 for all members who have committed to a plan.
The co-op has held 11 regenerative farming workshops across the country, in partnership with Farm Carbon Toolkit, and says more than 300 members attended to understand more about the benefits of regenerative farming principles, covering subjects including soil health, climate resilience, water, plant diversity and soil biology.
Since these workshops, the First Milk says it has provided all members with access to video guides about regenerative farming, as well as a booklet on regenerative farming principles.
Sustainability director Mark Brooking said: “With the COP26 event currently taking place in Glasgow, and with an ever-growing urgency around climate change across society, we are pleased to launch this new initiative that will embed regenerative farming principles at the heart of our net zero 2040 activity.
“We are convinced that dairy farmers can be part of the solution to the climate crisis by adopting regenerative principles that store carbon in soil for the long term. The response that we’ve had from members has been overwhelmingly positive and we will support them as they develop their own regenerative farm plans. We will then test and monitor soil carbon levels across our members’ farms through our partnership with Agricarbon, providing clear, robust data on soil carbon sequestration levels and progress towards net zero as we move forward.
“I believe that this programme is unique in its scale and approach. We are confident that this will help us deliver our ambitious net zero goals and safeguard the future for our dairy farmer owners. By working together in this way, we can regenerate the earth, enrich lives and nourish future generations.”