Most farms in the Sid Valley would be classified as ‘small’ – with a couple of examples from higher up the valley:
Other combes support small and family farms:
These small and family farms are a vital part of the life and heritage of the community:
However, looking ahead, small farms will find it very difficult to afford to decarbonise their operation, so says Albert Boaitey Lecturer in Global Agri-food Supply Chains, Newcastle University:
More than a third of the global greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activity can be attributed to the way we produce, process and package food. So it comes as no surprise that many large companies involved in food production and retailing are under pressure from investors, politicians and environmental groups to clean up their operations.
Yet the corporate rush to reduce the environmental footprint of their food supply chains poses several challenges for farmers. These supply chains – from providing ingredients, to processing and retailing – are mainly controlled by a handful of large companies. This level of concentration means that initiatives for decarbonising the food supply system are spearheaded by large companies. This is a problem because the proposed measures are often impractical for smaller farms, expensive or lack buy-in from farmers.
Achieving a transition to net zero that is fair will require that farmers have a say over how to go about it. With an in-depth knowledge of their land, crops and animals, farmers can help to implement measures and set targets that are practical, effective and attainable. There are encouraging signs that this is starting to happen in several countries. The UK’s National Farmers Union, which represents over 55,000 farmers in England and Wales, has set an ambitious target of reaching net zero by 2040.
There are other ways forward being proposed: