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The Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) agriculture minister, Jim Paice was speaking at the launch of the farming industry’s Greenhouse Gas Action Plan (GHGAP).

Agriculture currently contributes around 9% of the UK total of greenhouse gas emissions.

It is the single largest emitter of nitrous oxide (76% of the UK total) and accounts for 38%of the UK’s methane emissions.

The government is initiating the GHGAP to provide support and a framework to reduce emissions.

Measures include working with farmers and the supply chain on pilots and policy to reduce emissions.

The government is also investing £12.6 million to improve the science base and measurement of on-farm emissions.

Mr Paice said: “Our farmers are making an important commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and we will continue to support them to achieve this.

“I’d really like to see the industry seizing this opportunity and I look forward to seeing real action in farms across the country.

“This is the first step on the farming sector’s road to becoming more sustainable and I expect the partner organisations to show clear leadership as industry works to meet this challenge.”

The GHGAP has been launched by 16 organisations representing the agricultural industry in England, led by the National Farmers Union, the Agricultural Industries Confederation and the Country Land and Business Association.

Alison Brown

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