‘It’s hard for farmers to be green when they’re in the red’

The average farm income across Europe is only 40% of other economic sectors in the EU, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action heard yesterday (December 12).

At the meeting, it was added that it is “hard for farmers to be green when they are in the red”.

The comments came from president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Joe Healy, as he was answering a question from deputy Pat Deering – who clarified that the line was borrowed from him.

In 1985, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget was over 60% of the EU budget; today it’s at around 30% and by the end of the next CAP it will be at 28% of the EU’s total funding.

Also speaking at the meeting was the IFA’s Environmental Committee chairman, Thomas Cooney, who reiterated that the Teagasc Climate Roadmap, recently published on greenhouse gas emission reduction in agriculture, is “an important blueprint” for the sector.

Cooney added that, if fully implemented, the Teagasc report has the potential to reduce agricultural emissions by over seven million tonnes while sustaining stocking levels.

At the meeting, it was also outlined that, with regards to emissions, Irish dairy farmers are the most efficient and our beef farmers are in the top five in Europe.

He concluded: “As recognised in the Teagasc Climate Roadmap, the continued support of Ireland’s network of 800 advisors throughout the country will be essential in increasing the uptake of best practice when it comes to delivering the full potential of emission reductions from climate mitigation.”