Emissions ceilings set for agriculture, as revealed by the Irish Farmers Journal, would be “extremely challenging”, according to IFA president Tim Cullinan.

A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the sector of between 21% and 30% is set to be the target set by Government for the agriculture sector.

“We will need to see the full details before we can properly assess the potential impact on the sector, but there is no doubt but that it will pose huge challenges,” Cullinan said.

“For most people, climate action will impact on their lifestyle. For farmers, it will impact on our livelihoods.

If less food is produced in Ireland, it will be produced elsewhere, with a higher carbon footprint

“We need to sit down with the Government to make a plan for the sector that can contribute to emissions reduction, but that does not impact on farmer’s livelihoods. Proper funding must be in place to help farmers implement climate action measures,” he said.

Food production

“The frustration for farmers is that they know that if less food is produced in Ireland, it will be produced elsewhere, with a higher carbon footprint,” the IFA president said.

“The world’s population is growing and is likely to increase from 7.5bn today to 10bn by 2050. More food will be needed, not less,” he said.

The IFA placed an advertisement in the media today which showed that from 1999 to 2019 vehicle numbers in Ireland have increased by 75%, passengers to Dublin Airport have increased by 155%, while cattle numbers have remained the same.

“There is a huge amount of misinformation out there. Ireland’s grass-based system is extremely efficient. The Government must support farmers, not regulate them out of business,” Cullinan said.

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21% to 30% reduction in agricultural emissions required by 2030