Brandishing a burdizzo in front of a Cabinet member may be a striking image.

However, Cork central IFA chair Conor O’Leary’s initial action of handing the Minister for Agriculture “his P45” in the form of the front page of this week’s Irish Farmers Journal got a better result as it opened the door for Charlie McConalogue to give an insight into future carbon budget targets for agriculture.

Stating there are different studies and different models that show different levels of what can be possible, Minister McConalogue highlighted the contents of the KPMG economic impact analysis in the Irish Farmers Journal and in particular the 18% reduction model.

He told those present “that shows that dairy and beef incomes would be up as well as reducing emissions by 18%. The key objective I have is to have a target that can deliver for agriculture and enable us to produce food but to do the most we possibly can to enable emissions reductions as well.”

Adopting current technologies across farms would play a large part in achieving this, he added.


The Kanturk meeting probably didn’t have the same heat as the meetings held in the southeast of the country last week, but it wasn’t short of bite by any means. Eco schemes, convergence concerns and the future of farming were the lead issues in the north Cork venue.

Minister McConalogue addressing farmers in Kanturk Mart.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal after the meeting, Minister McConalogue said: “It’s clear from the programme for Government that the ambitions for agriculture as part of the Climate Action Plan will be lower than other sectors. This is due to the unique status of Irish agriculture in the overall national economy as well as specific science around agriculture.

“While the sectoral targets are not yet published, the targets for agriculture will be fair and proportionate. Agriculture will continue to play its part but I am confident our target will be proportionate to what we can deliver.”

The minister said he was confident that farmers would adapt to the challenges ahead just as they have done in the recent past.

“What is clear is that we have come from a decade of volume growth in the sector, particularly in dairying. I think it’s fair to say that we are now entering a different phase. Since the removals of milk quotas, we saw the latent capacity and desire at farm level to drive on and reach their potential. That was the last decade,” he said.

“The next decade will be the decade of value-added growth, where we will seek to get more from every litre of milk processed. This will be the bedrock of the next decade for our dairy sector.

“I believe that Ireland is the sustainable food capital of the world.

“Using our Food Vision 2030 roadmap, we will support our sector to reach new highs and develop new markets. We will produce top-quality, safe and nutritious food, growing our exports to €21bn by the end of the decade. Central to this is the protection of farm incomes. Farm families are the bedrock our sector and I will continue to back them to keep farming and to keep producing that food we are known for around the world.”

More on CAP in next week’s Irish Farmers Journal print edition.