Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (501)

Noel Rock


501. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way in which the beef environment efficiency pilot scheme is compatible with recommendations of the report from the Climate Change Advisory Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37484/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) is a one year pilot to further increase economic and environmental efficiency in the suckler herd through better quality data on herd performance, specifically as it relates to weaning efficiency of the cow, supporting decision making on farm. There are currently 19,131 participants in BEEP.

The BEEP scheme builds on the success of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) with a funding provision of €20m in 2019. This pilot scheme is targeted at suckler farmers and specifically aimed at further improving the carbon efficiency of beef production.

The Government’s policy position for the agriculture sector is an approach to carbon neutrality which does not compromise our capacity for sustainable food production, but is also cognisant of the important economical contribution agriculture makes to our economy and to the economy of rural Ireland.

There are three strands to my Department’s approach to carbon neutrality:

i. reducing agricultural emissions;

ii. increasing carbon sequestration and

iii. displacing and substituting fossil fuel and energy intensive materials.

Measures such as BEEP, BDGP, refining Economic Breeding Indexes (EBIs) for our dairy animals, producing Carbon Navigators for our dairy, beef and sheep farms, the Green Low Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme, the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) and initiatives such as Origin Green, Quality Assurance schemes and Knowledge Transfer Schemes all contribute to lowering the carbon footprint of the sector.

My Department continues to review options that will enable our farmers to transition to a low carbon economy while also being aware of the need to maintain economic competitiveness and increase our agricultural output.