Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Farming and climate change

Sustainable farming practices and the effects of climate change on agriculture

Farming is an industry that is very dependent on the weather. Weather can determine when certain activities on the farm take place. Climate change is already altering the patterns of weather we experience with more extreme events becoming more common. The most reliable predictions see these trends continuing.

There are two ways in which you can respond to these changes:

  • Helping to reduce carbon emissions to help prevent damaging climate change in the future
  • Adapting to the changes and planning for future events.

Both strategies offer the opportunity to improve the efficiency of your activities and improve the profitability of your business.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland there are programmes that are investigation how best to reduce resource use while maintaining the quality of the product, and what changes in farming practice will produce the best results now and in the foreseeable future.

Northern Ireland

The Greenhouse Gas Implementation Partnership (GHGIP) is a group chaired by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) with representatives from the agri-food sector and environmental stakeholders.

The GHGIP has been established with the aim of making sure that local food production is undertaken in the carbon efficient manner possible. Measures to reduce carbon emissions are very often associated with cost reductions and increased profitability.

The GHGIP have published a report which provides information on a range of subjects including:

  • Nutrient management
  • Beef and sheep
  • Dairy
  • Arable
  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewable energy

GHGIP Phase I report 2014


As a part of the Scottish Government's Climate Change Advisory Activity, the Scottish Rural College (SRUC) has developed information on a range of agricultural topics and has produced accompanying practical guides.

The main topics covered are:

  • Improving farm profitability
  • Carbon footprinting
  • Adapt to climate change
  • Soil and nutrition
  • Case studies

There is a range of practical guides to these topics that can be downloaded from the SRUC website.

SRUC: Farming for a better climate

SRUC: Downloadable guides – Improving farm profitability

Watch our short videos:

How to protect soil and water on a farm

How to reduce costs on a farm

How to store materials on a farm

How to make good use of nutrients on a farm

How to prevent diffuse pollution on a farm

Further information

DAERA - Greenhouse Gas Implementation Partnership

Defra: Climate Change Risk Assessment summary - Agriculture

European Commission - Farming and climate change

SEE ALSO: Agriculture sector guidance

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