Carbon neutral farming top of agenda for Taoiseach on visit to Devenish Lands at Dowth

21st November 2022

Carbon neutral farming top of agenda for Taoiseach on visit to Devenish Lands at Dowth

The Taoiseach heard how the agriculture sector has the potential to go beyond carbon neutral and become an important solution to the global climate crisis on a visit to the Devenish Lands at Dowth on Friday 18 November.

Micheál Martin saw firsthand how the nationally and internationally recognised research farm, owned and run by animal nutrition company Devenish, has proven that both beef and lamb can be produced in a carbon-neutral manner through the use of multi-species swards and other climate smart farming techniques which reduce inputs while boosting output.

He also learned about the company's focus on optimising nutrient utilisation in soil, plant, animal, environmental and human health, known as "One Health, from Soil to Society".

On the visit, the Taoiseach met with Devenish Chair Owen Brennan, Director of Human Health Professor Alice Stanton and Director of Global Agriculture and Sustainability Professor John Gilliland who briefed him on the work of the EU's Soil Mission Board.

The Taoiseach also met Dr Jean Kennedy, Director of the Global Innovation Centre who gave an overview of the ongoing projects at Dowth including the on-farm research managed by Dr Cornelia Grace and the ecology programme managed by David Dillon.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: "I have been very impressed by the research Devenish has carried out on the decarbonisation of beef and lamb production. Their findings have the potential to help agricultural on the transition to a more sustainable future, not only in Ireland but globally too."

Owen Brennan, Chair of Devenish, said: "We were delighted to host the Taoiseach here at the Devenish Lands at Dowth. The research we have been carrying out has produced results which are a game changer for agriculture, the environment and human health and it is vital they are considered in environmental policy, both locally and globally.

"Embracing innovative techniques such as these will help Irish agriculture enhance its stellar international reputation, now and in the future. We thank the Taoiseach for taking the time to come to the Devenish Lands at Dowth and look forward to working with his government in the future to help craft a more sustainable future for all."

Established in 2013, the Lands at Dowth is a nationally and internationally recognised research farm dedicated to developing sustainable agriculture solutions and promoting human health through nutrition. Some of its main collaborating partners include University College Dublin, Queen's University Belfast, University of California, Davis and Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Based in Co. Meath, the farm is within the Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site. The multispecies trials were conducted as part of the HeartLand Project, a co-funded Marie Skłodowska Curie European Industrial Doctorate (EID) programme.

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