A new £14.4m farm carbon footprinting project is nearing roll-out with data collection to begin this autumn and the first carbon reports to be with farmers shortly thereafter, DAERA has confirmed.

A process to find a supplier of a carbon calculator is currently underway, with interested parties required to make submissions by 20 June 2024. The carbon calculator will be used to establish a carbon footprint across 28,400 NI farms over the next four financial years to 2027/28.

Providing background to the Stormont Agriculture committee last Thursday, George Moffett from DAERA said the calculator will provide a result for the whole farm, as well as the individual enterprises on the farm.

The project is initially being rolled out to 11,200 members of the NI beef and lamb farm quality assurance scheme (FQAS).

“Once they’re completed, which will be in years one and two, the project will roll out to all remaining farm businesses,” confirmed Moffett.

The Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) has been tasked with delivering the project to FQAS members, with a service level agreement in place with DAERA. It is also expected that the LMC with take the lead when it comes to non-FQAS farms in years 3 and 4.

“Our current planning assumption is that it will continue with the LMC, but that is still to be worked out,” said Moffett.

Privacy notice

He acknowledged that farmers have expressed concerns about their data and how it might be used, but told MLAs that a privacy notice is currently being finalised with farmer representatives and other project partners. “We’ll also put in place a data sharing agreement between DAERA and LMC, and again that is currently being developed,” he added.


During the committee meeting, a number of MLAs asked whether the calculator will take into account the carbon captured in the likes of trees and hedgerows.

“We have written into the tender specification the ability to enter that data once it becomes available, so we’re not losing anything,” responded Moffett.

He also confirmed that if the methodology changes in how we report on methane from ruminants, it will be possible to re-run the farm data through the calculator. At present, the metric used in government accounting systems (GWP100) does not allow for the fact methane breaks down in the atmosphere after around 12 years.