In early October 2017, the University of Lincoln hosted delegates from 7 countries to launch a new European Union Interreg funded project to investigate potential developments in saline and salt-tolerant agricultural systems. The project, SalFar, sees Lincoln International Business School, Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology (LIAT) and the University’s new School of Geography teaming up to provide economic and market analyses as well as to run a series of crop trials to explore new opportunities in coastal agricultural production.

The consortium will look at new ways of understanding flood risk and defence, and explore opportunities to grow new types of salt-tolerant crops to help farmers adapt to possible future climate change scenarios.

The SalFar project builds on preliminary research from the University of Lincoln, which combined novel satellite imagery analysis, economic modelling, and field sampling to place a value on the agricultural land in flood risk areas. Dr Iain Gould (LIAT) and Martin Collinson presented these findings to the international team.

During the conference, discussions centred around the likely demand for different types of crops (from growers as well as consumers), the potential to create niche brands and the potential for new entrepreneurs to capitalise on emerging economic opportunities.

Delegates also visited farmland around The Wash, which gave our European partners an insight into the landscape and agricultural systems in the south of the county.

The project addresses one of the future challenges of agriculture in the North Sea Region – how we can adapt to an increased deposition of salts in our soils (salinization), a process caused by seawater flooding, rising saline groundwater and the use of brackish water for irrigation.

More details of the project and its progress can be followed online.