Donegal farmers will be on the right side of the ‘geographical divide’ when it comes to dishing out proposed land re-wetting grants.
The comment was made by Climate Minister Eamon Ryan this week, stating that thousands of farmers will struggle to reduce their carbon emissions due to the type of soil they are farming.
He added that ‘a lot’ of re-wetting of land would be required to aid Ireland in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
“Farmers have been told for 50 years that they have to drain land and now they are being told to wet it. That will be the case, but they will be getting paid for it because it is bringing back biodiversity as well as storing carbon,” Minister Ryan said in the Seanad.
The Minister also signalled a ‘geographical divide’ in relation to re-wetting, adding that some farms will be doing that more than others, with “more of the north and the west getting the money, if I am truthful”.
Thousands of acres of Donegal grassland is on peatland soil and is emitting tonnes of CO2 a year, according to Professor Gary Lanigan of Teagasc.
“Peatlands have huge amounts of carbon in them and when they are drained for peat extraction or agricultural production, those grasslands emit a lot of CO2, on average 20tonne per hectare,” he told the Farming Independent.
“The ideal scenery is to completely re-wet it and restore peatland or fenland, or failing that you can seasonally re-wet or raise the water table partially and gain some benefits.”