According to the Scottish Government’s 2018-2032 Climate Change Plan, approximately 73% of Scotland’s land area is designated as agricultural. This means Scottish farming businesses have a vital and important role to play in helping the Government to achieve its climate change ambitions.
As such, the Scottish Government provides grant funding for a number of initiatives designed to help farming businesses adapt or improve their practices to become more sustainable and have less of an impact on the environment. Of particular focus, is helping agri businesses to better understand and reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are the three main GHG emissions produced in agriculture. The impact of different GHGs is known as their global warming potential (GWP). Over a 100-year period, methane’s GWP is considered to be 25 times worse than that of carbon dioxide, and the GWP of nitrous oxide is considered to be even more harmful – 298 times worse than carbon dioxide.
The Climate Change Plan highlights various actions farming businesses can take to improve their GHG emissions. These include:
- taking a holistic approach to protecting and enhancing soil;
- optimising land use;
- tackling livestock disease;
- utilising the best technology available;
- maximising input efficiency;
- turning wastes into a resource (such as establishing renewable energy sources);
- sequestering carbon in woodlands and soil.
Adopting such actions does not only help agri businesses to reduce their GHG emissions, it can also help to improve animal health and welfare, provide cleaner water and air, benefit biodiversity, improve soil quality, and increase the financial security of the business. 
Through the Farm Advisory Service (FAS), Scottish farming businesses can access up to a total of £3,700 in funding to secure expert business development advice to help improve performance in one or more of the Government’s recommended areas.
A FAS approved adviser can undertake a thorough review of the business, producing an Integrated Land Management Plan, carbon audit or up to two specialist advice plans on areas of particular interest or concern. These provide detailed plans, actions, and recommendations on how to improve business performance, sustainability and profitability.
In a poll, 96% of FAS users stated they would recommend FAS services to other farmers and crofters. A further 95% rated the quality of the support received as being of ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ quality.
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