What is the Signpost programme?
The Signpost programme is a multi-annual campaign to lead climate action by all Irish farmers. The programmes aims to achieve early progress in reducing gaseous emissions from Irish agriculture and also:
- improve water quality
- maintain and in some cases improving bio-diversity
- reduce costs and create more profitable and sustainable farming enterprises.
It will also act as a test bed for on-farm carbon sequestration measurements so that this can, in time, be taken into account by the EPA in the national Greenhouse Gas inventory. It is a collaborative programme, led by Teagasc and includes all relevant industry partners and state bodies such as Bord Bia.
- Lead and support the transition of Irish farming towards more sustainable farming systems;
- Contribute to the agricultural sector efforts to reduce agricultural emissions in line with national policy objectives, specificallysupport the transition of Irish farming towards more sustainable farming systems specifically,
- To reduce GHG emissions by 22 - 30% to the range 16 – 18 MtCO2e by 2030, in line with Climate Action Plan (2021) objectives; and
- To reduce ammonia emissions by 1% below 2005 levels in the 2020 to 2029 period and by 5% from 2030 onwards;
- Ensure that there are no unintended consequences of attempts to reduce agricultural emissions and that progress is made in both improving water quality and enhancing biodiversity;
- Promote farming practices and systems which can improve margins and the overall sustainability of farming systems;
- Build national capability and capacity (both of Irish farmers and those supporting them) to undertake the changes required;
- Be a trusted knowledge source and broker, facilitating the alignment of programme partners and the strengthening of existing and new programme collaborations.
Elements of the programme
There are two elements to the programme:
- A network of Signpost Farms, which will act as demonstration farms for the programme and sites for carbon sequestration measurements. These will point the way forward towards climate smart farming, and are central to the second element,
- The Signpost Advisory campaign, this will engage with all farmers and support them to move towards more sustainable farming systems.
The Signpost Farms will:
- showcase the science based technologies which can reduce agricultural emissions;
- act as “hubs” for the Signpost Advisory campaign; and
- create a national network of farms where carbon sequestration in grassland and hedgerows can be be examined.
Signpost Advisory campaign
The Signpost Advisory campaign will mobilise all advisers- Teagasc, private and industry - to engage with all farmers, using a combination of channels, in climate action.