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On the 3rd of June, Minister Charlie McConalogue, T.D, launched a significant investment of €10 million in a pilot Soil Sampling and Analysis Programme. The funding aims to identify and place soil carbon, soil health, and fertility at the centre of our future agricultural models.  Irish soils play a vital role in achieving water, air, climate, and biodiversity targets of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Green Deal.

This pilot will provide detailed knowledge about soils on farms nationwide, which will lead to an increase in economic and environmental sustainability and identify a national baseline on soils across Irish farms.

In addition to the soil sampling and analysis programme, a new Pilot Farm Environmental Survey (FES) has also been announced by Ministers McConalogue and Hackett. The strong links between biodiversity and agriculture are widely acknowledged. The FES pilot looks to analyse farm habitats and biodiversity to establish a farmland biodiversity baseline that will be used to inform future Agri-environment schemes.

Through the FES pilot, over 8,000 farm surveys will be completed.  Each participant farmer will receive €200 for their participation and an inventory of environmental information about their farm. Specialised training for Agricultural Advisors will include upskilling in habitat areas, biodiversity, and IT & mapping training.

Read more about the Soil Sampling and Analysis Programme here and about the pilot Farm Environmental Survey (FES) here.

Source: NRN & DAFM