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Projects to enable farmers, crofters, and land managers to create improved opportunities for nature, adapt to climate change and benefit from new organic farming materials will share £170,000 of investment.
Awarded through the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KTIF), the new funding will drive forward innovation in farming and food production and help agricultural businesses contribute to the green economic recovery by farming more sustainably.
Announcing the funding, Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon said: ‘It is important that we emerge from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with a green economic recovery.
‘Projects like these help farmers and crofters in rural and island communities to explore new ways of protecting and restoring biodiversity, habitats and ecosystems.
‘With this latest funding the KTIF has now invested around £6 million in projects that will help us to grow a sustainable, vibrant and innovative rural economy.’
Biodiversity Monitoring in Shetland, one of the projects to receive investment, will see land managers collect information about wading birds on their land and produce best-practice guidance for farmers.
Commenting on the project, RSPB Conservation in Shetland Advisor Nathalie Pion said: ‘Waders depend on how farmers and crofters manage their land. Farmers’ knowledge and skills are key to their protection.’
Colleen McCulloch of Soil Association Scotland, which is facilitating the Farming for Biodiversity project, said: ‘Soil Association Scotland’s Farming for Biodiversity project will allow us to develop a framework to benchmark the ways grazing livestock can rebuild natural capital as well as produce nutritious food.’
Debs Roberts of the Scottish Organic Producers Association, which is facilitating a project examining the potential uses of basic silicate rocks to capture CO2, said: ‘This exciting project is an excellent example of grassroots farming grasping the opportunity to work with cross-sector partners in the academic sector.’
The three projects awarded new funding are:
- Biodiversity Monitoring in Shetland – Facilitated by Shetland Livestock Marketing Group (SLMG) – £47,320.
This pilot project will give land managers an opportunity to learn about the birds and what they need to successfully nest and raise chicks. The participants will collect information which will be used to measure the quality of fields for waders, and produce best-practice guidance to share management methods with the Shetland agricultural community.
- Basic silicate rock by-product: a new agricultural input that captures CO2 – facilitated by Scottish Organic Producers Association (SOPA) – £68,246.
Basic silicate rocks have recently gained product approval for use in organic farming as soil input. This project aims to collect data, present the innovative features and encourage uptake.
- Farming for Biodiversity – Facilitated by Soil Association (Scotland) – £57,744.
This project will focus on practices to increase biodiverse habitat within enclosed farmland, enabling farmers, crofters, and land managers to adapt to climate change, help restore biodiversity and ecosystem health, meet growing demand for nature and climate-friendly food and be a key driver for Scotland’s green recovery.