The Government’s short-term view and lack of stable policy is proving challenging for farmers, BiOrbic director, Professor Kevin O’Connor has said.

Professor O’Connor was speaking at a farmer welfare conference organised by Carbery on Thursday last .

Through BiOrbic’s involvement in the Farm Zero C project based at Shinagh outside Bandon, he has witnessed firsthand the challenges farmers have encountered dealing with a range of policy shifts in a relatively short period of time.

“All the changes farmers are required to make to make their farm more sustainable need to be underpinned by stable long-term policy,” he said.

“Government policy has to support farmers to make that change. I don’t see Government fully bought into that. They see that the changes are needed, but are they really thinking about the level of support that’s needed?”

Change, he added, costs money, and while it’s not necessarily about spending an arm and a leg, it’s about practical solutions that can actually be implemented at farm level.

Farmers at the event at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery also heard Professor O’Connor say that Irish farms have some of the highest biodiversity levels in Europe, and that there are practical things that farmers can do to increase biodiversity levels on their farms without impacting production.