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01 Oct 2022

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

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

Farmers across the country are feeling the pressure of increased input costs and energy prices, as well as increases in the cost of living more generally

The Green Party is back in Ratheniska for day two of the National Ploughing Championships 2022, where it is clear there has been a surge in interest among farmers in organics, biodiversity and renewable energy since this Government first took office.

Agricultural advisers are anticipating record numbers of applications to the Organic Farming Scheme later this year, while new multimillion euro European Innovation Partnership projects aimed at protecting and enhancing biodiversity and water quality are also expected to be hugely popular among Irish farmers over the upcoming CAP period.

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

“I have been blown away over the past number of weeks with the level of interest in organic farming since I launched the new Organic Farming Scheme as part of our next CAP.

“That positive engagement with organic farming is on show again at the ploughing here in Ratheniska at the dedicated Organic Village and the Department of Agriculture tent. I also launched Ireland’s first undergraduate degree programme in Organic Agriculture which underscores where the future of farming in Ireland is going.

“The Greens in Government have made a really positive difference to organic farming and to 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. 

“Farmers across the country are feeling the pressure of increased input costs and energy prices, as well as increases in the cost of living more generally.

“The Green Party is determined to help farm families in Budget 2023 and to continue to listen to their needs as we move forward towards meeting our ambitious climate action goals.

“Our vision of farming is for thriving, profitable family farms across the country that work with nature to produce healthy food in a healthy environment, and we are determined to work with our coalition partners to deliver on this vision.”

Deputy Leader of the Green Party, Minister Catherine Martin stated;

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

“This is the first time in over a decade that we’ve had a Green Minister in the Department of Agriculture and we can see the impact that we are making including a 5-fold increase in rates for farmers participating in the Organic Farming Scheme, secured by Minister Hackett in the next CAP.

“By focusing on quality and reducing carbon emissions, we can carve out new market shares and protect the futures of our farmers and farm families. 

“Ireland’s new CAP Strategic Plan, also includes supports to promote gender equality and greater participation by women in farming.

“Currently, only 13% of farm holders in Ireland are women but international research indicates that women in farming often lead on diversification on the farm.

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

Grace O’Sullivan, MEP added;

"As a lot of agricultural policy is increasingly negotiated together by EU countries, the Ploughing is a great opportunity to connect rural Ireland with the policymaking process.

“With the CAP reform just recently coming into force, farmers and environmentalists alike will be keen to see the roll-out of the new eco-schemes and Space for Nature measures.

“Last year we also achieved an historic commitment from the Commission for a Directive on soil health, expected next year, which will be key to protecting Irish food security and nature in the long term. Ireland should be poised to reap the benefits of the European Green Deal and that starts in places just like this."

Senator Róisín Garvey, Green Party Spokesperson for Rural Development, Enterprise and Employment said;

“Being from a farming background myself, growing up and living in rural Co. Clare, I know that nature-friendly farming and organics is the future of farming in Ireland.

“However, there are also many other opportunities including renewable energy.  I want to see solar panels on the roof of every farm building in Ireland. Revised planning regulations expected to be in place next year will make it easier for farmers to do this.

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

“Later this year the ‘Clean Export Premium’ payment will commence, which will allow farmers to receive additional subsidised premium payments for all units of electricity exported to the grid from installations sized between 6 kw – 50 kw.”

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