First Milk has today confirmed its commitment to regenerative farming principles as a core part of its net zero 2040 strategy, with the launch of a unique digital tool to capture regenerative farming plans for each of its farmer members, along with an associated bonus payment for members.
Members have been asked to complete an individual Regenerative Farming Plan by the end of March 2022. These plans will detail their current practices and planned changes to reduce carbon emissions and increase carbon sequestration and biodiversity.
To help make this process easier, First Milk has worked with 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 then come into effect from April 1, 2022 for all those members that have committed to a plan.
This development follows the completion of a round of 11 regenerative farming workshops across the country, held in partnership with Farm Carbon Toolkit. These saw more than 300 First Milk members attend to understand more about the benefits of adopting regenerative farming principles, covering subjects including soil health, climate resilience, water, plant diversity and soil biology.
Since these workshops, the co-operative has provided all members with access to video guides about regenerative farming, as well as a booklet, ‘Regenerating the earth every day’, which offers information about regenerative farming principles and examples of how they can be implemented on farm.
Commenting on the developments, Mark Brooking, Sustainability Director, 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.”