The Irish agricultural sector can meet its climate action targets without reducing the national beef herd – but only if there is buy-in from every beef farmer, according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.

Speaking at a press briefing this morning, Wednesday, October 16, ahead of the Department of Agriculture’s Open Policy Debate on Ireland’s Agri-Food Strategy to 2030, the minister said:

“We’ve published the climate action plan and we’ve clearly stated that it is possible for us to meet the climate targets without impacting on the herd size – but that’s contingent on embracing the menu that we’ve published.”

Minister Creed highlighted that, while everybody talks about the Teagasc Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC) analysis, he stressed: “Talk is the easy part”.

We need to get buy-in from every one of our farmers to make sure that herd reduction doesn’t come into play.

“One way or the other we are going to meet our targets,” he warned.

The minister stressed that agriculture is not the problem but rather part of the solution.

Continuing, he said: “We’re going to meet those targets and we’re going to be monitoring those targets on a quarterly basis.”

Minister Creed noted that such quarterly reports are already underway for monitoring the matter, adding: “It will be abundantly clear to us whether we need to revisit the menu that we’ve published as a way of arriving at the ultimate destination that we have set for ourselves.

I think we can – and I think we can do that without impacting on the herd size.

“That is the way forward but we will have to make sure that there is no slipping and there is buy-in by all farm families. Every one of them will have to play their part,” the minister concluded.