The farm organisations have slammed a Department of Agriculture decision to exclude farmers from direct involvement in a crucial working group tasked with developing carbon farming in Ireland.

The Carbon Farming Working Group was established last year to provide guidance on the development of a National Carbon Farming Framework and set out how carbon farming will work in practice.

The working group includes representatives from Bord Bia, Teagasc, the Department, EIT Climate KIC, the Irish Strategic Investment Fund, ICOS, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Economic and Social Council and the Department of Environment.


However, the “exclusion” of the farm organisations from the working group was described as “hugely disappointing” by the ICMSA. ICMSA deputy president Eamon Carroll described the farm bodies’ omission as a “fundamental flaw” and he questioned the motivation behind the decision.

“Farmers will be key to this framework, and it is inexplicable that they have been sidelined from the onset, with only an ad-hoc input,” Carroll said.

“It all seems like a co-ordinated approach to keep farmers away from the decision-making process on their very own futures,” he added.

The INHFA has also expressed serious misgivings around the omission of farmers. “We are assuming that the working group is a scientific and technical group.

“But carbon farming is going to impact farmers primarily and there has to be a role for farmer representatives to engage with the group and provide feedback before any proposals are finalised,” said INHFA president Vincent Roddy. The IFA insisted that any framework must be designed and structured to benefit farmers rather than agri-business, large corporations or offset buyers. The Department said it had met with the farm groups on carbon farming to seek their views.