Ploughing Championships highlights huge interest in organics, biodiversity and renewable energy

The Greens are back in Ratheniska for the second day of the 2022 National Plowing Championships, where it is clear that farmers’ interest in organic, biodiversity and renewable energy has increased significantly since this government took office.

Agricultural advisors expect a record number of applications for the organic farming scheme later this year, while new multi-million euro European Innovation Partnership projects aimed at protecting and improving biodiversity and water quality will continue in the coming year CAP period should be very popular with Irish farmers.

Secretary of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, said Pippa Hackett;

“I have been overwhelmed by the level of interest in organic farming over the last few weeks since I launched the new Organic Farming Scheme as part of our next CAP.

“This positive commitment to organic farming is demonstrated again when plowing here in Ratheniska in the committed organic village and tent of the Ministry of Agriculture. I also created Ireland’s first Bachelors degree in Organic Farming which underscores where the future of farming in Ireland is headed.

“Greens in government have made a real positive difference to organic farming and many other areas of farming in Ireland through European Innovation Partnerships, LIFE projects and initiatives such as the Multi-Species Swards and Red Clover incentives announced earlier this year.

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“Farmers across the country are feeling the pressure of increased input costs and energy prices, as well as a general increase in the cost of living.

“The Greens are committed to helping farming families in the 2023 budget and continuing to listen to their needs as we move forward to meet our ambitious climate targets.

“Our vision of agriculture is for thriving, profitable family farms across the country that work in partnership with nature to produce wholesome food in a healthy environment, and we are committed to working with our coalition partners to achieve that vision.”

Greens Deputy Leader Minister Catherine Martin stated;

“Ireland is uniquely positioned to provide high quality, sustainable products for us and the rest of the world, in a way that works with and protects our nature.

“This is the first time in over a decade that we have had a green minister at the Department of Agriculture and we can see the impact we are making including a 5x increase in rates for farmers participating in the Organic Farming Scheme, backed by Minister Hackett in the next CAP.

“By focusing on quality and reducing CO2 emissions, we can capture new market shares and secure the future of our farmers and farming families.

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“Ireland’s new CAP Strategic Plan also includes support to promote gender equality and greater participation of women in agriculture.

“Currently only 13% of farmers in Ireland are women, but international research shows that women in farming are often driving diversification on the farm.

“We have strong women leaders in the Green Party who run farms and come from farming backgrounds who can inspire the next generation of women to lead change and help secure the future of farming in Ireland.”

Grace O’Sullivan MEP added;

“With much agricultural policy increasingly being negotiated collectively by EU countries, plowing is a great opportunity to connect rural Ireland to the policy making process.

“With CAP reform only recently in place, farmers and environmentalists alike will be excited to see the new eco-regulations and measures introduced by the Space for Nature.

“Last year we also achieved a historic Commission commitment to a Soil Health Directive, which is expected next year and will be key to protecting Ireland’s food security and nature in the long-term. Ireland should be ready to reap the benefits of the European Green Deal and that starts in places like this.”

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Senator Róisín Garvey, Green Party spokeswoman for rural development, enterprise and employment, said;

“Having a farming background myself, having grown up and living in rural Co. Clare, I know that nature-friendly farming and organic is the future of farming in Ireland.

“However, there are many other opportunities, including renewable energy. I would like to see solar panels on the roof of every farm building in Ireland. Revised planning rules, expected to come into force next year, will make it easier for farmers to do so.

“Not only can it reduce costs on individual farms, but Ireland’s farmers have a huge role to play in the country’s transition to renewable energy. The Clean Export Guarantee guarantees payment for each unit of renewable electricity exported to the national grid.

“Later this year, the Clean Export Premium payment will start, allowing farmers to receive additional subsidized premium payments for all units of electricity exported to the grid from plants between 6 kw and 50 kw in size.”

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