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Beef Carbon

The development and application of farm level tools to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of beef cattle production system


Project Overview

The LIFE BEEF CARBON project is aiming to reduce the beef carbon footprint by 15% over 10 years in four major and contrasting European countries - Ireland, France, Italy and Spain. The project promotes innovative livestock farming systems and associated practices to ensure the technical, economic, environmental and social sustainability of beef farms thus improving interactions between climate change and livestock production. This involves the development of evaluation tools and decision support systems, to carry out an assessment of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on a large number of farms, to inform farmers and advisors and to develop action plans for the production of a low beef carbon footprint.

The initiative is led by the Institut de l’Élevage (IDELE) and the Interprofession du Bétail et de la Viande (INTERBEV). The project includes Teagasc and Bord Bia from Ireland, 6 Chambers of agriculture, 5 cooperatives, 4 beef recording organizations from France, CRA and 2 producer associations from Italy, ASOPROVAC and 2 producer associations from Spain. The partners plan to establish a common beef carbon framework composed of innovative practices aimed at reducing GHG emissions and increasing carbon sequestration through:

  1. Developing an inventory of existing methodologies and practices to build a common GHG assessment methodology, this will update current advisory tools on carbon emissions from beef farms.
  2. Training 150 national and regional advisors and innovative farmers involved in the project to build a common knowledge base on carbon emissions and GHG’s.
  3. Creating a demonstrative observatory composed of 2000 beef farms (including a 100 Irish farms) that will take part in the first carbon assessment actions operated at such a scale covering several beef farming systems.
  4. Building a network of 170 innovative farms that will test, apply and promote innovative techniques to reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon storage. This will include 20 innovative Irish Beef farms representing weanling, store and finishing systems.
  5. Establishing national and EU carbon awareness and mobilization building on an EU beef carbon farmers’ network, allowing exchanges between farmers and advisers in the 4 countries. This will include feedback from participating farmers on the acceptability and feasibility of innovative carbon reduction practices tested on their farms.
  6. Developing Irish, French, Italian and Spanish national BEEF CARBON ACTION PLANS, and a relevant partnership strategy for other nations. These action plans will demonstrate to the beef value chains the interest and feasibility of this approach aiming at reducing the beef carbon footprint by 15% in 10 years." The goal of the partners is to launch a national and European platform that will allow a reduction in the carbon impact of beef meat.

LIFE BEEF CARBON ambition and scientific rigour is recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The project received the COP21 label in Paris and is one of the six strategic actions of the Lima-Paris Climate Change Agricultural Action Agenda.

To find out more about the project please browse the websites newsletters and leaflets.

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