Written evidence submitted by David Holmes (SH0006)


My name is David Holmes. I farm approx 160 hectares in the lower Yorkshire dales.

I am a Nuffield scholar and have been active in the soil group for approx 15 years.

I am in the process of forming a company dedicated to marketing Carbon Offsets,

to be launched when the time is right.

The CLA at this time suggest that there are tax implications to running this as a business

and until a farm is carbon positive it can't realistically sell its excess carbon.


I have written to the Prime Minister about not imposing additional taxes.

I also want to get an agreement on methane emissions from grazing livestock

(in certain circumstances the amount of carbon fixed in the soil is far greater than the

emissions released to the air when the soil in set-up to conserve the carbon)

Also we are on the cusp of the "regeneration agricultural revolution" were lightweight

tractors, run on hydrogen, driverless and "no-till" (minimal compaction, flood resistant,

drought tolerant with natural fertility and less call artificial fertilizers and sprays).


1. We are now in 2023. In my view it should be at least a 25 year programme.

The taxation should be sorted very quickly.

I propose measuring, with a full soil analysis every 5 years, and then

Payment made for 5 years based on increase in carbon

(details of this payment can be matched with companies wishing to buy)


Soil analysis can be under-taken by a firm like Hutchinson's Terra Map who map

the field first, looking for all different soil types then the position and frequency

of tests can be accurate.



2. The current regulations do not ensure accurate soil measurements have to

be taken. I propose that a firm like Hutchinson's Terra Map take samples at the

beginning and then every five years over the next 25 years.

The quantity of soil organic matter will be too small if measured every year but

a system could be devised where measurement is based on a "log" or record

of farming system with inputs and outputs, with an assessment of SOM at the


3. The standards under existing ELM do not have enough ambition or time to restore soil to

its potential. There is also inadequate payment. As the market for carbon

offsets develops there will be huge opportunities for payments to farmers from the market

rather than the public purse.

The biggest threat is that farmers will not sign up or see what the government is aiming for.

If the ELM is launched with a clear idea why you are doing this and you are producing carbon

offsets to sell in the marketplace at a price that is only going to raise - there will be huge

support for it.


4, We are entering a climate emergency.

There is simply too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and reducing the rate that we put into the

atmosphere is not going to lessen it.

We need to take massive quantities out of the atmosphere and find a

safe place to store it.

The one place suitable is agricultural or farmed soil.

Globally there are approx 5 billion hectares of farmland out of a total land area

of approx 13 billion (approx 38%). Using principally Nature to do the work there is

enormous potential to correct the situation (reducing parts /millon back to pre-industrial


The USA 's leading exponent is www.indigoAg.com whose strapline is, "Linking into

a global effort to remove one trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

and use it to enrich our soils"


There is a win-win situation because not only is carbon sequestered from the atmosphere

but soil is greatly improved by increasing fertility with less cultivation and chemicals,

flood and drought resistant and more nutrient dense food.

The French are pouring huge resources into spreading the word internationally through

their 4 / 1000 initiative.

A massive education program would need to be launched to explain

to  the public that we are in a climate emergency and what we are doing about it.

All food products in the supermarkets would carry a logo from participating farms.

The food would not be any dearer (only better).



5. The government first of all need to identify soil pollutant though the five year

soil analysis'.