Farmers will be paid to grow beans and peas to feed cows to replace soya, in bid to tackle deforestation in the Amazon
The government is trying to find sustainable ways to feed cattle protein - Phil Wilkinson
Farmers are paid to grow beans and peas to feed the cattle and replace soy, which has been linked to deforestation in the Amazon.
A new scheme under consideration for trials in Northern Ireland will compensate producers for growing protein crops in the UK to be fed to animals such as cows and chickens.
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This is part of an effort to reduce the country's dependence on deforestation-related products. In 2019, the UK imported 1 million tonnes of soy that was at risk of deforestation.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs is proposing that growers will receive £ 330 per hectare in 2021 for growing combinable beans, peas and sweet lupins.
A similar program is taking place in the Republic of Ireland, where farmers who grow beans receive € 365 / ha for growing the proteins.
Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots said the harvest would not only help create domestically produced sources of protein for animal feed, but also improve soil quality.
He said: "I intend to pilot [the program] in 2021 and then refine the approach for the following years to maximize economic and environmental benefits."
The program is being scrutinized by the rest of the UK, who may follow suit to reduce the agricultural carbon footprint.
Mr Poots told BBC Farming Today, "We want to ease the pressure on imports of soy grown in South America. Protein crops are a great crop and can be used for soil enrichment and work well as a rotating crop can get nitrogen from." Atmosphere and this reduces the nitrogen that gets into our bogs and supports our bogs, which are massive carbon stores. "
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