The emissions reduction target that will be set for agriculture will provide farmers with an opportunity to save their industry and move away from intensive beef production, Minister of State with responsibility for communications and the circular economy Ossian Smyth has said.

Under the Climate Act, agriculture must cut emissions from the sector by between 22% and 30% by 2030.

Suggesting a move away from "intensive meat farming", he told Morning Ireland on RTÉ 1 on Friday that farmers should consider forestry, solar, tillage and bog rewetting as alternative forms of income, while cutting emissions at the same time.

Anaerobic digestion opportunities were also something he stressed should be developed, just like they are in other countries around the world.


It is an opportunity for farmers, he said, to maintain their incomes and still remain a strong part of society.

"For the agricultural sector this process is really healthy. For the first time, there's a really deep thought process going on about how do we get away from intensive meat farming towards other possible forms of income for farmers," he said.

"How do we maintain income for farmers while at the same time cutting their emissions," he said.

He argued that everybody is going to have to put their shoulder to the wheel and play their part.


"I want their incomes to be maintained into the future and I want to do everything I can do help farmers and make that [farming] still a strong part of society," he said.

He added that the cabinet meeting which will take place next Wednesday will provide the deadline for the sectoral target discussions.