To support the development of our Farming for Carbon and Nature scheme, which uses university owned farmland to capture carbon and restore nature, we undertook some scoping research to understand more about agricultural land ownership amongst UK universities and colleges.
Farming for Carbon and Nature is creating an innovative model where we incentivise universities to make payments to farms so they can transition to more nature friendly farming practices to sequester carbon. Nature friendly farming methods will be adopted such as minimum or no till, direct drilling, cover crops, perennials and green manures. These methods maximise carbon sequestration, biodiversity and soil health.
To understand the scheme's potential, between June and August 2020, we contacted 277 universities and colleges to request data on aspects of their non-developed landholdings, including hectarage, tenancy status, land use, agricultural land grade, soil type and land management. 42 responded to us, with 14 providing data on at least some of the aspects listed. We also collected data on these aspects already in the public domain.
Key findings from the 14 institutions include:
Using only data from other sources (excluding the above figures), including phone calls with land agents and a variety of public information we found:
To read our full findings download our report.