Carbon farming is an area that will become a crucial part of the future of farming in this country, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said.

“I know this will be a real opportunity for farmers to derive a new income stream for their farm and I will drive this very exciting opportunity forward.

“The sky is the limit for carbon farming here and I want farmers to benefit strongly in the time ahead,” he said.

The minister recently convened a Carbon Farming Working Group to gain a deeper understanding of relevant issues.

The group is chaired by Department of Agriculture officials and he said it is “initially drawing on expertise from across semi-state and governmental departments to explore opportunities for the development of practices which encourage the removal of carbon in line with developments at EU level”.

In the development of a carbon farming framework, the establishment of baseline data, auditing, the development of voluntary carbon codes, leveraging of private financing through public-private partnerships, and the putting in place of good governance structures will be required, he told Roscommon Galway TD Denis Naughten in response to a parliamentary question this week.

Exciting area

Minister McConalogue hailed carbon farming as an exciting area for the sector and said farmers must be recognised for their environmental ambition and rewarded accordingly.

The European Commission is to deliver proposals in the coming months on an EU regulatory framework for the certification of carbon removals.

The minister added that Ireland’s Climate Action Plan 2021 commits to the “development of an enabling framework for the potential trading of carbon credits, and which rewards farmers for emissions reductions and carbon removals, including through potential private sector investment”.