January 23, 2015

Prestigious Prize for Cool Farm Tool

The Cool Farm Tool greenhouse gas calculator, developed by University of Aberdeen researchers and using Yara input, has won the prestigious 'Practice with Science' Award given by the Oxford Farming Conference.
Cool Farm Tool app
Cool Farm Tool app

Every year in January, in the picturesque university city of Oxford, the conference bearing the city’s name has been organized for over 65 years. The Oxford Farming Conference attracts very high caliber speakers and authorities within the field of environmentally-friendly farming, biodiversity, land-use efficiency, but also looking into the food chain mechanisms in the processing industry, as well as technology.

Free-to-use calculator

"We are extremely happy that the research and research translation work we have conducted is helping informed decision-making in the supply chains of global businesses," says project leader Dr. Jon Hillier from the University of Aberdeen, which is noted for its excellence in agricultural research.

The Cool Farm Tool is a free-to-use calculator for the whole supply chain to measure the carbon footprint of crop and livestock products, aiming for sustainable management. It is now owned by the non-profit organization Cool Farm Alliance and there are plans to extend the tool to include water and biodiversity in the future. The tool identifies hotspots and allows farmers to run 'what if' scenarios.

Yara's cooperation as one of the founding partners of the Cool Farm Alliance, is rooted in the company strategy to create competitive advantage from tackling major global challenges. This engagement allows Yara to position itself as a thought leader within agriculture and the food chain, and ensure that the methodologies used and recommendations given are in line with Yara's approach as far as possible.

Multi-sector collaboration

The thinking behind the tool is that agriculture is a major source of GHG emissions, and farmers need products, tools and solutions to balance high yields with minimal environmental impact, for example by improving fertilizer use efficiency.

The Oxford Farming Conference/Royal Agricultural Society of England honor means that Dr. Hillier and his team can develop an economic assessment module to enable farmers to better understand the profit and loss implications of more sustainable production choices.

"I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of the Cool Farm Alliance," Dr. Hillier says. "The Cool Farm Tool today is the product of a multi-sector collaboration over several years to deliver science-based environmental decision support to farmers."

"The award had extra significance, being presented at the UK's largest, most important, and politically influential farming conference," says Frank Brentrup from Yara's R&D Center Hanninghof located in Germany.

"For us the collaboration in the Cool Farm Alliance has multiple benefits," Frank explains. "It enables us to ensure fair representation of mineral fertilizers in the calculations, for example, by including the most recent emission data for fertilizer production and by using reasonable estimates of nutrient losses from fertilizer use."

"The active participation also creates many opportunities for networking with, and learning from, relevant partners of the food chain - and positions Yara as a relevant partner itself."

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