Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has stated that the data must be trusted and transparent for farmers to take action in the area of carbon farming.

Ireland has already strengthened its efforts to provide this data and to understand the mitigation potential of carbon farming, he has explained.

“Effective measurement, transparency and [the] building of trust in the data will be essential to the development of an effective carbon farming framework, not just in Ireland, but in the European Union,” Minister McConalogue said.

The Minister has also stated that the new CAP will have many objectives that must be met, but that the production of food will remain central to the policy.

His comments came as he discussed carbon farming with his fellow EU agricultural ministers on Monday.

Peatlands and livestock

“The need to focus on pathways to increase the removal of atmospheric carbon is acknowledged, as is the need to avoid greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, carbon-rich pools in peatlands and other carbon-rich soils,” outlined the Minister.

He went on to explain that to ensure effective carbon farming, policymakers should work closely with farmers to determine the carbon farming actions that farmers will actually practice.

The Minister outlined the importance he sees livestock playing in carbon farming, stating his hopes that the EU expert group will also recognise this importance.

“However, livestock farming is another vitally important aspect. We need to support farmers to engage with carbon audits and improve their outcomes,” he said.

Ahead on the issue

Minister McConalogue told the other European agricultural ministers that Ireland had commenced work in the area of carbon farming, by setting up a working group at the level of national government.

“Ireland is already engaged nationally in this issue,” Minister McConalogue stated.

“We have established a carbon farming working group at government level and this work will be further informed by a number of research projects and pilot studies which will focus on improving the collection and assessment of data in order to help fully understand the scope and potential of carbon farming in Ireland,” he said.