Ireland is to dairy and beef what California is to tech and we risk “limiting ourselves in the single area in which we could have helped deal with a global [climate] problem”, according to Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) president Pat McCormack.

The ICMSA president said Government needs to show “due respect” to farming and rural communities.

McCormack was reflecting on the Climate Action Plan launched by Government last week which set an emissions reduction target of 22-30% for the agriculture sector.

Balance needed

“Farmers and rural communities are perfectly entitled to feel that they had been singled out by the media and some vested interests and made to carry the carbon can while other sectors escaped any regulation or media attention,” said McCormack.

He insisted that farmers and their communities cannot be “undermined by additional costs, while the same people who urge restrictions on us pop up in the media looking for trade deals with countries that have no intention of addressing climate change”.

The ICMSA president said that Ireland a global leader in dairy and beef production.

“Ireland is not just potentially damaging ourselves nationally for no good reason but we are actually limiting ourselves in the single area in which we could have helped deal with a global problem.”

Constructive engagement

McCormack described how farmers will continue to engage constructively with Government, but noted that they will not allow themselves or their communities to be undermined by the additional costs of emissions reduction.

He said “farmers will not be made fools of” and called on Government to show “due respect to the farming and rural communities”.