Introduction to the challenge being addressed

6.3 There is a need to identify how best to reward farmers for environmental deliverables, such as carbon reduction, biodiversity, and water, soil and air quality. Implemented on a beef farm, Masovia region, Poland.

Description of the innovation

As beef farming is one of the biggest impactors on the environment and climatic changes – mainly greenhouse gases (GHG) as a result of enteric emissions – a system for rewarding farmers who reduce these impacts is important and expected. Beside public subsidies, the biggest reward is higher payments for cattle from farmers who work on GHG reduction. Such good practices were implemented on beef farms within the new standards of the Quality Meat Program. Firstly farmer needs to meter GHG on the farm, from each of the following groups: from animals, the cultivation of plants for fodder, soil management, fertilizers and plant protection, feeding systems and planning, pasturing, machinery usage, and transportation. The first metrics are used as a baseline, and the goal is to reduce the farm’s GHG emission by 15% over 5 years. The farmer cooperates closely with specialists who measure and monitor net GHG emissions and plan how to reduce it. The farmer needs to believe in the reduction plan, and implement the advice of specialist. Farmers need to become partners. Some investment is also needed for sensors and services.

Impact on farm performance

At the beginning farmer needs to adopt some changes in their production systems and cattle breeding, but also in elements connected with cattle as own fodder production. This has an influence on costs, but in the end, the farmer receives higher payment for cattle as they are produced under conditions that are expected by both market and consumers. 

Farmer’s comment (for Good Practices)

Łukasz: At the beginning it wasn’t easy – it was hard to believe that my production had such a huge impact on the environment. But when I saw how much I can receive for cattle with the label ‘we work on gas reduction to become neutral’, I can say that some investments are worth doing. 

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