Skip to main content

For Oral Answer on : 10/02/2022
Question Number(s): 171,131 Question Reference(s): 6789/22, 6985/22
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Asked by: David Stanton T.D., Brendan Griffin T.D.


* To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the research that has been undertaken or funded by his Department for the reduction of agricultural emissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– David Stanton T.D.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 10 February, 2022.

* To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine if he will list the carbon research that will assist farmers in reducing their carbon footprint; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Griffin T.D.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 10 February, 2022.


Carbon research, specifically around the sequestration of atmospheric carbon to soil, has an important contribution to decarbonise agriculture and facilitate the objectives of my Department’s strategy, Food Vision 2030, and its contribution to Ireland’s Climate Action Plan.

Quantifying the carbon sequestered in our soils requires scientific research to feed into the strategies for farmers to reduce their carbon footprint. My Department is providing up to €1.9m in research funding for three projects  investigating the sustainable management of soil and ensure it can sustainably perform its multiple functions, including soil sequestration (‘SQUARE’);  how carbon sequestration on agricultural land could provide mitigation options while maintaining agricultural production (‘Agri-SOC’); and understanding Carbon stocks in agricultural landscapes (‘Farm-Carbon’) from the contribution of hedgerows and non-forest woodland.  

One of the central themes of my Departments 2021 national competitive research Call was Climate, with the objective to support climate-smart research to improve, integrate and develop novel systems which support carbon sequestration. From this Call, my Department recently awarded research funding of up to €1.8m for two projects exploring new measures to enhance carbon sinks and displace fossil fuel emissions. The first of these, LAB-MACC, will quantify mitigation associated with a range of new measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance land carbon sinks, and displace fossil fuel emissions, potentially enabling farmers to receive credit for emissions reduction. The second, ‘REWET’, will investigate how developing actions to restore the water table on drained carbon-rich soils can enhance carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere.

In connection with the ongoing investment into the establishment of a National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory, my Department is co-funding a project with the EPA which aims to support the mapping of Irish Peatlands to refine the assessment of land-use change and greenhouse gas removals from a range of different soil and farm types. This builds on my Department’s involvement with the EU LIFE IP Peatlands and People project which has seen a co-funding commitment of €750,000 in support of research into GHG’s and carbon sequestration from grassland farming in peatland.

These recent examples of my Departments commitment to climate research will build on other significant projects. The €1.25million ‘Meth-Abate’ project which has been underway now since 2019 is developing and validating novel technologies, particularly feed additives, to reduce methane emissions from pasture based Irish agricultural systems. And the €3million ‘GreenBreed’ project has been developing the scientific basis for sustainable ruminant breeding programs that lead to a lower environmental footprint.

Considering this wide range of research initiatives that are taking place, I am confident that they will provide a strong pipeline of scientific advancements which will help farmers to reduce the carbon footprint of their farms, thus contributing to the agricultural sector meeting its targets under the Climate Action Plan.