There are diversification opportunities for farmers who wish to consider alternative income streams and in turn reduce emissions.

However, change is not easy, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue told the Energy and Farm Diversification Show in Gurteen on Thursday 20 July.

Agriculture, he said, is at the centre of national efforts to address climate change and halt the loss of biodiversity.

Renewable technologies at farm level and the provision of bioenergy materials, including agricultural feedstocks, for the anaerobic industry is how agriculture can play a role in the decarbonisation of the energy system.

"We have a pathway for agriculture based on three opportunities - the opportunity to reduce emissions; second[ly], the capacity to remove emissions through how we farm our land and, finally, through a contribution to energy.

"Today is very much about the latter ambition, contributing to energy,” he said.

Anaerobic digestion

The anaerobic digestion industry is at a "nascent stage" of development, the Minister said.

However, he added that Ireland has the opportunity to build out an industry of scale to produce the Government target of up to 5.7TWh of indigenously produced biomethane.

The Irish agri-food sector, he added, has demonstrated itself to be among the most resilient and sustainable sectors both nationally and internationally.

However, given the effects of climate change on agricultural systems, the need to bolster that resilience has become more important than ever.


The three themes of this event - energy, farm diversification and land use - "will play a major part in securing our great sector into the future".

Achieving Ireland's sectoral emissions reduction target will take a collective effort by farmers, advisers, educators and the whole agri industry, he argued.

"The new Teagasc MACC published last week sets out a pathway of technologies to achieve agriculture's targets with collaboration from research to implementation, which will be vital for success.

"I have financially supported the delivery of MACC measures through various programmes such as genotyping, SCEP and TAMs.

"The second and third wave of technologies are in the research pipeline and I look forward to them being ready for on-farm adoption in the near future," he added.