“The farming industry has potential to contribute to the economy and the challenge of climate change through alternative land uses,” said UFU rural enterprise policy chairman Michael Harnett.

“Renewable energy crops and other alternative land uses have the potential to be an exciting option for the farming industry, bringing sustainability to the rural economy and helping society to meet its environmental obligations.”

Mr Harnett made the statement following proposals from the European Commission to introduce a number measures to tackle climate change, including a target of 20% usage of renewables in Europe’s overall energy consumption by 2020.

He called on the government to provide policies that would put growers in Northern Ireland on an equal footing to their counterparts in other EU states.

One problem that the UFU said is currently hindering would-be green farmers is the “very high connection charges” to supply electricity to the national grid.

Ben Meggeson

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