Farmers do not have control over all of the sources of greenhouse gas emissions on a farm, for example enteric fermentation (gases that are released from a cow’s stomach). Those practices which they do have control over are, for example, diesel use, electricity use, fertiliser use and feed bought. These are all things which cost farmers money. The more emissions from these sources on a farm, the more money farmers are spending on them. If they can use these things more efficiently, they can make their farming practices more profitable. This also translates into lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Trace & Save encourages farmers to become less reliant on food and fertiliser that they have to buy, and more efficient at using what is already on the farm. An example of this would be if farmers use the grass that they grow on the farm to feed their cows as efficiently as possible, resulting in them needing to buy less feed. This saves the farmer money and results in a lower carbon footprint because there are greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and transport of any feed a farmer buys. Another example would be for a farmer to reduce the amount of fertiliser that they use by relying on the natural cycling of nutrients by the life in the soil, and by spreading manure from the cows back onto the soil. This saves the farmer money, as fertiliser is expensive, but it also results in lower greenhouse gas emissions from the farm.
I think it is important for consumers to be aware of this so that they can support conscientious farmers. This can be done by supporting farmers that care about the environment, and buying products that have been sustainability produced.
1. Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa. August 2013. GHG Inventory for South Africa 2000 – 2010.