Jackie Cahill has called for better representation for farmers and the agriculture sector on the Government’s Climate Advisory Council.

The chair of the Oireachtas agriculture committee acknowledged the position of Teagasc director Professor Gerry Boyle on the council, but described the composition of the council as “very unbalanced at the moment”.

“If [the council] is going to set targets for different sectors, there needs to be better representation on that council,” he told the Irish Farmers Journal at the IFA’s day of action in Nenagh, Co Tipperary.

“When we come out of this climate bill, we have to have sustainable agriculture, I fully accept, but it has to be economically sustainable as well,” he said.

“I would say that any decisions that are made have to be economically proofed to make sure that farming stays sustainable.”

Cahill said he had raised the issue in Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meetings and with an Taoiseach Michéal Martin.

National herd

He referred to numerous ways to cut emissions from agriculture, including low emissions slurry spreading, different grass varieties to sequester carbon and protected urea, as potential ways to tackle climate issues without hindering production.

Cahill described any proposal to cut the national herd as “an easy answer” that he would “fight with his last breath”.

Listen to Jackie Cahill’s interview here:

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