The Irish Grain Growers (IGG) group has said that no tillage-only farmer can apply to be part of Origin Green and insists that clear recognition must be given to fully traceable, GMO-free, Irish grain and legumes.

It claims that this will give all Irish farmers a positive and doable option of reducing their carbon footprint on farm, without resorting to cutting production.

Irish farmers who already feed native Irish meal get no reward nor recognition when it comes to the carbon credit calculation for Bord Bia, nor reward from those that purchase their produce, it said.

Bord Bia must recognise the carbon credentials of Irish-grown feed to help win the battle against climate change, it insisted.

Carbon footprints

A spokesperson for IGG commented: “We import meal feed from up to 60 different countries, some of which has a carbon footprint 24 times that of native Irish meal feed.

“We import, on average, two-thirds of our meal feed requirements each year, much of which is GMO.

“With an adjustment of land use here in Ireland, we potentially could offset a decent percentage of that figure, and help reach absolute emission targets."

It said that small steps have been taken by Bord Bia to recognise the carbon footprint of imported soya.

However, it was adamant that this only highlights the need to push this agenda further.

IGG was clear that every avenue needs to be explored and opened to help livestock, pig and poultry farmers reduce their carbon footprint.

It said that Teagasc needs to provide information on the benefits of feeding native feed meal when it comes to a farmer’s carbon footprint.

It said the Signposts programme is an ideal avenue to explore and research this option.