Written answers

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Agriculture Schemes

Photo of Matt CarthyMatt Carthy (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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961. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 796 of 15 September 2021, the manner in which the carbon footprint measurement in the sustainable beef and lamb assurance scheme sustainability audit is conducted; the cost associated cost with taking part in the scheme; if he has considered exempting weanling farmers that will not receive an increased price for the their cattle from the need to participate; if he has considered a non-sustainable beef and lamb assurance scheme facility which would measure the carbon footprint for such weanling farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8038/22]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The management and operation of the sustainable beef and lamb assurance scheme, of which there are approximately 53,000 members. is an operational matter for Bord Bia.

The primary objective of the carbon footprint measurement is to enable the quantification of all of the environmentally sustainable activity carried out by Irish farmers. 

The SBLAS sustainability audit, including the Carbon Footprint measurement, is developed on an internationally verified quality assurance model.  There is no direct cost to the farmer for participation in the SBLAS as the audits are funded by my Department. 

As the Deputy will be aware, the  carbon footprint measurement is both an eligibility requirement and an integral element of the proposed Suckler Carbon Efficiency Scheme under the new CAP.  In designing the scheme, in consultation with farming stakeholders, the Department gave detailed consideration to all aspects of the scheme design including potential mechanisms for delivery of the carbon foot-printing requirement.  I am satisfied that the chosen scheme design is the most appropriate.

It is clear to me from speaking to beef farmers during the CAP consultative process, that they are heavily invested in working towards a more sustainable sector, for their families and wider communities, which is one of the core objectives of the next CAP.  

Should the Deputy have any specific queries in relation to the operation of the Bord Bia Sustainable Assurance Schemes, he is invited to contact them directly at info@bordbia.ie.


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