September 28, 2023
Chris MacManus MEP commends Soil Biodiversity EIP during Longford farm visit

Chris MacManus MEP commends Soil Biodiversity EIP during Longford farm visit

“The Soil Biodiversity EIP is a great example of a project that seeks to work with farmers to develop new practices to care for their land and biodiversity,” said Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest. He was speaking after a visit to Old Holly Farm in Abbeyshrule, Co. Longford, where Denise and Richard Moran Jones showed him around their regenerative farm and explained about their participation in the project.

“Agricultural European Innovation Projects, or EIPs, are EU-funded initiatives that aim to foster more sustainable farming,” noted MacManus. “There are a number of EIPs in operation around Ireland and I have had the pleasure to engage with other EIPs like the Farm Carbon initiative, the North Connemara Agri-EIP Scheme, and the Maximising Organic Production Systems project. The Soil Biodiversity EIP, run by Talamh Beo, is another excellent project that aimed to provide farmers with an understanding of soil biodiversity, and the means to improve soil biodiversity on their farms, through online courses and the possibility to sample and test soil with the help of scientific equipment. The project finished in 2022, with the aim that now the participating farmers will now be able to share their knowledge with neighbours and colleagues.”

“I am grateful to Denise and Richard for showing me around their farm and outlining their participation in the project. Their regenerative approach to farming prioritises soil health, which is crucial for both limiting and adapting to climate change. On the one hand, well-managed soils can sequester carbon, thus helping to counteract greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, healthier soils mean that farmers will be more resilient to the challenging weather conditions resulting from climate change.”

MacManus concluded, “This highlights the importance of providing farmers with the information and skills needed to take better care of their soil. In my role as a member of the Agriculture Committee in the European Parliament, I have long insisted that farmers are willing and able to make changes towards more sustainable practices, but need to be given the opportunities and the tools to do so. The Soil Biodiversity EIP did just that, although Denise and Richard highlighted that the one year duration of the project was possibly too short for full implementation. This suggests that future funding calls under the Agri-EIP should consider longer time frames to allow projects to be properly anchored and to have a long-term impact.”

See attached photo of (L-R): Denise Moran Jones, Chris MacManus MEP, Barry Campion (Sinn Féin candidate for Granard LEA).

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