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A £4.8m project to increase the area of UK biomass crops will be launched at this month's Low Carbon Agriculture Show. Government looking for big increase in biomass crops

• Scheme launch at carbon farm show

• Goal is to help reach Net Zero target

• Farmers and environment to benefit

A £4.8m project to increase the area of UK biomass crops will be launched at this month’s Low Carbon Agriculture Show.

Biomass Connect aims to showcase best-practice and innovations in biomass feedstock production at sites across the UK. Funded by the the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), it will be launched at the event on Tuesday, 7 February.

“Our project will act as a focal point for the biomass industry, supporting the expansion of sustainable biomass production in the UK, said project leader scientist Jeanette Whitaker, a principal scientist at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH).

“The Climate Change Committee indicates that expansion of biomass feedstock cultivation from 10,000 ha to 730,000 ha by 2050 is required to deliver net zero for the UK. This will require significant changes in agricultural land use over the coming decades.”

“Launching the initiative at the Low Carbon Agriculture show was the obvious choice to raise the profile of our project and discuss the challenges for the biomass sector at an event attended by individuals and organisations focused on decarbonising agriculture.

The project launch will include outline ways to do this, explain why more sustainable biomass is crucial in the quest for Net Zero, and how it can benefit farmers. The goal is to support land managers to plant more sustainable biomass crops.

Energy security

A conference session on the second day of the Low Carbon Agriculture event will discuss the role of biomass in UK energy security and Net Zero plans. It will be chaired by Patricia Thornley, director of the Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute.

Speakers will include  Iain Donnison, head of the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS). He will deliver a presentation explaining ways to burn biomass for electricity generation, while capturing the carbon produced.

Envirocrops project manager Callum Williams will explain how farmers can select and grow the most appropriate biomass crops for their farm business, with a further presentation by Dr Whitaker  looking at best practice and innovation.

Biomass Connect is also represented in the show’s exhibition, with a stand for farmers to visit and understand which biomass crops could be suitable for them. There will also be a dedicated biomass area in the exhibition so farmers can speak directly with industry suppliers.

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Two-day event to discuss carbon farming

Hundreds of exhibitors are expected at the Low Carbon Agriculture Show – which takes place on 7-8 February at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

Held in partnership with the NFU and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), the event incorporates four expositions. They are the Environmental Business Expo, Farm Technology Expo, Energy Now Expo and the Low Emission Vehicles Expo.

Free to attend, the show features new conference sessions, including biodiversity, transitioning to regenerative farming systems, niche crops and managing energy use and costs. Separate sessions cover ways to maximis returns from existing clean energy assets.

A policy workshop, giving farmers and landowners the chance to quiz experts on agricultural, energy and environmental policy has also been added.

The new topics have been introduced alongside already popular sessions, such as carbon farming, soil health, each renewable energy type and an open debate on reaching net zero in agriculture.

The show also features an exhibition of businesses supporting farmers in the agricultural transition, and a test track for low emission vehicles.