My Department, and Teagasc, through a range of ##research activities and funding, work closely on the shared aims and objectives for the Irish agri-food, forest and bio-based sectors.
At its centre, the provision of core funding to Teagasc enables the innovative climate and agri-environmental research base of Teagasc deliver its main research programme in this area and subsequently then to connect this research with farmers and the wider agri-food sector through the farm advisory service and its strong emphasis on knowledge transfer and education.
Engagement by Teagasc with my Departments competitive research programmes is significant and has helped support innovative research directed at farmers and the sector to reduce GHG emissions and improve carbon storage. Specifically my Department is supporting several research projects led by Teagasc in this area that aim to develop the necessary technologies and practices to facilitate Irish agriculture’s move to increased carbon efficiency. Projects such as 'Greenbreed' and 'Meth-Abate', supported by DEpartment, seek to develop the necessary tools and technologies to reduce and mitigate methane emissions from ruminant livestock in Ireland.
Collaboration of research activities have also resulted in the development of technology centres and innovation clusters, such as the the Teagasc-led research centre, VistaMilk, co-supported by my Department and Science Foundation Ireland, which is focussing innovation, via technology approaches, to address climate issues of emissions from ruminant livestock for farmers in the dairy sector.
Of particular note is the recent collaborative work between my Department and Teagasc to establish the infrastructure required for a National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory. Through this investment, Teagasc will commence intensive monitoring of carbon emissions and removals across a range of Irish soils, putting Ireland at the forefront in terms of understanding, supporting and rewarding farmers for practices that build carbon stores in our soils.
My Department and its agency Teagasc continue to work closely to drive and implement national and international strategic priorities related to climate action in the agri-food sector. This is exemplified by the DAFM-funded, Teagasc-led project to investigate the establishment of a dedicated Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research & Innovation Centre. Coupled to the engagement with international partners on this project to provide a basis for best-practice of a proposed centre for climate research excellence, is the focus on the specific climate challenges in Ireland that will enhance research, advisory and farmer coordination to deliver a sustainable climate-friendly agri-food system.