Written answers

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Agriculture Industry

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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478. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the degree to which his Department continues to examine ways and means of carbon sequestration in line with requirements while maintaining the viability of the agri-food sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38957/21]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The Department is aware of the significant contribution that on-farm carbon sequestration, particularly through our soils and hedgerows, can make in the continued viability and sustainability of the agri-food sector.

Recent initiatives supported through funding from the Department will provide much needed data on the emission profile of our farms and will inform policy decisions in this area to better support farmers in their efforts to sequester, store and protect carbon through better management decisions.

In particular, the establishment of the National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory with supporting technology for the measurement of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a range of different soil and farm types will place Ireland at the forefront of EU carbon sequestration research. This infrastructure will be located on a number of Teagasc Signpost farms which is a new initiative which aims to support our farmers by acting as a demonstration and research resource for best practice on our farms.

Teagasc has also recently commenced a research project called “Farm-Carbon – Farm Hedgerows and Non-forest Woodland Carbon”. This project will provide a deeper understanding of hedgerows and non-forest woodland as carbon stocks in agricultural landscapes and will allow researchers to identify approaches to maintain and enhance this contribution.

As you will appreciate, the knowledge gained from the aforementioned research and technological infrastructure establishment activities pursued through this Department will not only demonstrate the continued viability of our agri-food sector but it will also allow for the refinement of our reporting to the National Inventory further emphasising the sustainability of the agricultural sector.

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