A major new five-year research programme to support the UK’s transition towards home-grown food production that is sustainable, carbon-neutral and has a positive effect on nature.
Lead partner UKCEH will work with Rothamsted Research, the British Geological Survey, the National Centre for Earth Observation and Plymouth Marine Laboratory on the £13.8 million programme, which has been named ‘AgZero+’. It is jointly funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
AgZero+ will bring together a community of researchers and farmers to test innovative farming systems at scale. It will balance the need to produce nutritious food with reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, while at the same time enhancing biodiversity and soil health (a holistic approach known as ‘net zero+').
The programme will provide data from national sensor networks, satellites and a network of commercial study farms and study catchments. These will be made available to the research community and other stakeholders through data portals and advanced digital tools to support environmental planning and management.
AgZero+ builds on the success of the £12 million ASSIST (Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems) project, which addressed the challenge of feeding a growing population by making food production more efficient and resilient to climate change, and reducing agriculture’s environmental footprint.
UKCEH,the British Geological Survey, the National Centre for Earth Observation and Plymouth Marine Laboratory