The Beef Plan Movement (BPM) has welcomed environment minister Eamon Ryan’s decision to accept two amendments to the Climate Action Bill.

A spokesperson representing BPM’s environmental committee said: “The climate bill will now recognise carbon removed from the atmosphere by agriculture.”

Beef Plan Movement welcomes changes

Beef Plan Movement said it welcomes this development, as a recognition of carbon removal by farmers formed an important part of its recent submission on the climate bill.

The spokesperson continued: “However, we must stress the importance of fully recognising all carbon removed by farms in Ireland.

“While one of the amendments refers to the carbon sequestered by hedgerows and trees, we believe there needs to be an acknowledgement that grazing too is an effective way of removing carbon dioxide [CO2] from the atmosphere.”

Grass and carbon sequestration

BPM added that according to a recent Teagasc study, grass affixes CO2 during photosynthesis, at a rate of up to 4t/ha.

The BPM representative further explained: “A proportion of this carbon is sequestered by the plant’s root system, but the majority is converted into beef and milk.

“A small amount of methane is emitted during the process, approximately 140kg per cow, which breaks back down to CO2 within eight-10 years and hence the cycle continues.

“In the BPM’s climate submission, we emphasised the importance of our beef herd to the rural economy.

“Instead of reducing the national herd we should look at ways of addressing the issues without going down the nuclear route,” the spokesperson added.

“We recognise the importance of being proactive and have encouraged the minister to consider subsidising the use of feed additives, which dramatically reduce methane emissions from livestock.”

Environmental schemes

BPM has outlined that beef farmers in Ireland have a high participation rate in both environmental and organic schemes.

The BPM spokesperson continued: “We are confident our sector will continue to take a positive and proactive approach to environmental issues.

“While the minister’s decision is a step in the right direction, we must ensure the climate bill adopts a fair and equitable analysis of our sector.”