I am the health and education manager at Quality Mate Scotland, but I am also a farmer. It gives me a unique perspective on how the Scottish red meat industry is already adapting to a climate emergency, producing nutritious red meat that is deeply rooted in natural cycles and ecosystems. ۔
One solution that has caught my attention is shifting from a linear to a circular economy – where, ultimately, what we take from the earth is returned to help regenerate natural systems. This is a popular model outside the food sector.
We are seeing this increasingly in clothing, household goods and waste, which is not surprising given this research (Alders Gate Report, July 2021). www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/asset/1941Shows that a circular economy could provide 80% of the additional emissions reduction needed to meet the UK’s fifth carbon budget, covering 2028-2032.
There is a natural resemblance between the principles of circular economy and livestock farming. In Scotland, we are guided by the seasons, the spheres of life, the carbon cycle and the interconnected relationships between plants, animals and humans – all concepts that are rooted in agriculture. One foundation is soil, which is vital to our lives and requires careful management. Farmers can recycle natural animal waste so that the fields can be naturally fertilized as animals graze, or collect and process it and eventually return it to the soil as an organic fertilizer.
This natural fertilizer nourishes the soil and provides organic matter which allows the biodiversity under the soil to flourish. Organic fertilizers are also used to grow crops and vegetables in the soil and are more sustainable than synthetic fertilizers obtained from fossil fuels.
Another example is grazing cattle. When cattle and sheep graze, they stimulate plant regeneration, causing the plant to undergo photosynthesis, which draws carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, stores it in plant roots, and eventually Moves it to the soil.
The benefits of grazing cattle go beyond carbon capture, such as helping to recreate the natural environment, preventing flooding and planting hedges and trees on farmland, and providing natural habitats for wildlife such as snakes and snakes. to promote. As the RSPB notes, “sheep grazing can be good for housing, especially if cattle are grazed with them.
However, we acknowledge that there is still a long way to go to become a truly circular economy. We need to re-learn the connected behaviors and consider the life cycle of the products we use. Whether it’s hiring equipment or not, such as farm machinery and tractors, reducing the amount of food wasted (currently one-third of the food we produce globally is wasted). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) And reconsidering fashion choices (the world currently uses about 80 billion new clothes every year).
Scottish cattle farmers are passionate about the care and protection of our famous countryside, and it is only by working in harmony with the natural cycles that we can provide nutritious, local produce that Benefit consumers, farmers, wildlife and climate.
Alex Richie, QMS Health and Education Manager and Farmer