Farmers are supporting the ‘fight back’ now underway to tell the public about the achievements of Irish agriculture in tackling climate change.
Eoin Lyons milks 125 cows near the village of Rath, Co. Offaly. His herd is split into spring and autumn-calving groups.
Lyons believes that it is the farming sectors in other countries that must bear the brunt of climate change challenge.
“Ireland is home to one of the most efficient farming industries in the world. I totally disagree with the decision taken by government to introduce climate change targets that could fundamentally damage the prospects of Irish agriculture,” he said.
Lyons attended the official unveiling of a new climate change poster, located strategically on the N7 dual carriageway at Kill in Co. Kildare.
He is among a very significant number of farmers who feel strongly that the government did not take cognisance of the carbon sequestration already taking place within Irish agriculture when the new emission ceilings were agreed.
“Farming will be at the heart of Ireland’s response to climate change. But the industry must be treated fairly by government,” he said.
These perspectives have been boosted by recent research, confirming the significant potential for soils to store event higher levels of carbon, specifically within a grassland scenario.
Moreover, the organic carbon-to-clay ratio can be used as a valuable indicator of soil health.
And this principle can be adapted to identify soils that have the potential to store higher levels of carbon.
In addition, sites of this nature can be identified at specific locations on every farm.
Another factor that has a direct bearing on a soil’s capacity to sequester carbon is its pH value.
It has been confirmed that, where mineral soils are concerned, their ability to actively sequester carbon drops-off significantly if pH values fall much below a value of 6.0.
This is because the microbiome of the soil finds it very hard to remain healthy and active under very acidic conditions.
The period ahead will, no doubt, see further research identify more ways by which production agriculture can become more ‘global warming’ compliant.
However, the fact remains that almost all of the international climate change legislation introduced to date, which has a direct bearing on farming, takes little or no account of the research results that are already in the public domain.
It is for this reason that farmers like Eoin Lyons are very angry, where this crucially important issue is concerned.