Farmers can’t take “leaps of faith” when it comes to climate measures if they are unsure of financial support, IFA environment chair Paul O’Brien has said.

Speaking at the EPA annual conference, O’Brien criticised a lack of engagement with farmers by climate policymakers and warned they are being “spoken to and not with”.

“Farmers will go on this [emissions reduction] journey but we can’t jump off this cliff and hope someone catches us,” he said.

O’Brien said that when answers aren’t forthcoming on the impact of climate measures and the cost, “suspicion fills the void”.

He refuted claims that farmers are climate deniers and said it is “the biggest challenge of our farming career”.

Young farmers

Young Cork dairy farmer and Macra member Nicole Keohane backed O’Brien and described how decades of production driven farm policy from Government has been “thrown out the window overnight”.

“We are on the right road. We just need to be more cohesive.

“You can’t be green if you’re in the red,” she added.