Sustainability was an often used word over the last decade and as we enter a new one, this will no doubt continue. But what does it mean and how does it affect Irish farming? Sustainability in agriculture can be viewed from financial, social and environmental contexts. Financial sustainability includes the issues of costs, price volatility, margin and competition. Social sustainability involves skills and labour, quality of life, succession, local community and urbanisation. Environmental sustainability includes environmental rules, climate change, farm management practices and protecting the environment for future generations.

The key measure at farm level in addressing both the environmental and financial aspects of sustainability is efficiency. Efficiency in our production system which will have both financial and environmental benefits at farm level.