A talk on the future of farming in Devon, organised by the Climate Awareness Partnership Sidmouth (CAPS), attracted around 40 people - nearly half of them attending a CAPS talk for the first time.

'Farming the Land in Devon: Looking to the Future' took place on June 6 at Kennaway House.

Chris Lockyear, the chairman of Sidmouth Town Council, explained that the purpose of Climate Awareness Partnership Sidmouth (CAPS) is to help people to become more aware of greenhouse gas emissions and of ways to reduce their own individual carbon footprints. The town council supports residents’ engagement by hosting talks and producing a newsletter.

Katherine Gray, a local landowner who manages land with a carbon negative reading in the Sid Valley, emphasised the ‘importance of the role of cattle in locking carbon into the ground, their role in biodiversity (which also increases carbon absorption) and in supporting wildflower meadows for essential pollinators such as bees.’

Henry Gent, a farmer from near Exeter, reported on a regulatory tool being developed called the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). This will be introduced in the UK in 2027 to put a fair price on the carbon emitted during the production of carbon intensive goods from sectors such as aluminium, cement, ceramics, fertilisers, glass, hydrogen and iron and steel. Henry says this is a ‘message of potential hope and positivity in the face of the projected global temperature rise’.

Haydn Dawkins, a sustainable farming consultant from north Devon, said he had spoken to 100 farmers to find out how they are dealing with the challenges that have come with climate change. His two questions were: "Are you doing anything for climate change?" and "If not, why?" Haydn said: "I was shocked to find out that 74 of those farmers aren't doing anything to combat climate change and biodiversity on their farm. It appears from these results that funding is a big issue that prevents farmers from making adaptations to climate change."

A spokesperson for the organisers said: "The Q & A interactions conveyed empathy towards farmers as well as a desire to share knowledge and experience. The audience was left with an awareness that climate change is affecting us all with the challenge to think globally while acting locally."