The IFA president Tim Cullinan said everyone on the stakeholder committee who stayed around the table “had to compromise somewhat” in order to allow the document to go out for consultation.
“Farmers are willing to play their part in climate action, and they must be at the centre of Government policy,” he said.
Cullinan also wrote to Tom Arnold, chair of the committee which developed the strategy.
He said he wanted to make it clear that his “agreement to the ‘draft document being circulated for consultation’ does not mean that the IFA have agreed to the strategy”.
The president of ICMSA, Pat McCormack, said that farmers will not pay the costs for everyone else in this continuing transition to lower emissions in farming and food production.
“Policymaking has to be blunter about the reality of food price inflation and the fact that it is inevitable. There’s some of the usual stuff on addressing unfair trading practices (UTPs), but it’s tepid and unconvincing. Everyone has to understand that the move to lower emissions and greater sustainability means the end of the industrial ‘cheap food’ policy and we want that spelled out explicitly in agri food 2030.”
The INHFA said the vision of having a climate-neutral food system by 2050 can only be achieved with additional investment and funding being made available to the industry as a whole.
“With regard to the proposed 10% cut in methane emissions and the impact this may have on the national herd, the INHFA stance on this is very clear – it’s not the cow it’s the how. Sustainable food production must recognise farming systems that deliver quality products through a low carbon footprint. With numbers of suckler cows falling naturally and dairy cow numbers still on the increase, we cannot expect to sacrifice one commodity at the expense of another.”
A reduction of 10% of biogenic methane is an ambitious target, Macra said, and should only be achieved by investment in the sector. It suggested investment in anaerobic digestion and supports to improve the efficiency of livestock through targeted supports for the beef and dairy herd. “Limits or reduction in the national herd are not acceptable as these will undermine farmer income and ability for young farmers to create viable farms. The key issue remains the lack of strong targets about improving farm income and viability by comparison to the clear targets on environmental measures.”
The ambition to make Ireland a world leader in the highest standards of sustainability will be a waste of time unless the meat industry can demonstrate what premium this will deliver, the ICSA said.
It does not want to see quality assurance as desirable for all farmers; if everyone is in it, then nobody benefits from it because farmer bargaining power to get a bonus is removed.
The Irish Grain Growers Group (IGGG) said it would have welcomed more specific details on achieving the goals in the report.
On the road map for the sustainable environmental footprint of dairy and beef by Q2 of 2022, it mentions using better breeding and additives in feed to help achieve that goal but totally neglects using far more native Irish grain in feed rations, it said.