AN INITIATIVE to help tackle carbon emissions within the dairy sector has been launched in Northern Ireland.
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DAERA Minister Edwin Poots with (L to R) Dr Sam Campbell, Chief Executive A.I. Services, David Brown Deputy President UFU, Dr Mike Johnston, Chief Executive, Dairy Council NI, Martin McKendry, Director, CAFRE - at the launch of a new initiative to help

The voluntary dairy carbon audit programme will begin in 2022 with the hope of enhancing understanding of carbon emissions in the sector and how to reduce them.

Agriculture and Environment Minister Edwin Poots, said: “Green Growth means using the move from a high to a low greenhouse gas emissions society to improve people’s quality of life through green jobs and a clean, resilient environment. And that is exactly what we intend to do.

“This new carbon benchmarks programme is an excellent example of collaborative working and I commend the Dairy Council and CAFRE for it. I would strongly encourage all eligible dairy farmers to get involved in the programme and together we can, we will and we must make the changes necessary for a greener future,” added Minister Poots.

CEO of the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland, Dr Mike Johnston, thanked Minister Poots for launching the programme, which will be open initially to all members of CAFRE’s Business Development Groups who financially benchmark, with data collection provided by AI Services Support Assistants.

“This is an important industry initiative to better understand the source and extent of emissions on dairy farms. There are a number of reasons why these carbon audits need to happen. First, if we are to reduce our carbon footprint we need to measure emissions. Second, our customers are asking for information on the level of emissions and what measures are being taken to reduce these. And third, we need baseline data to provide proof as to the sustainability of family run dairy farms in Northern Ireland,” explained Dr Johnston.

“I would emphasise that this is an industry initiative, and although voluntary, I would encourage all members of BDGs to participate. I can assure all dairy farmers that the information collected about their farm will be confidential and will not be available to the Dairy Council, DAERA or dairy processors.

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