‘Farmers must be supported’ through EU climate policies

Irish family farms must be supported and included in climate action policies as the EU prepares its budget for 2020.

That’s the message from Ireland-South MEP Sean Kelly (pictured above), who argued that the transition to a low-carbon economy must be “fair for all”.

He was speaking following a European Parliament decision last week in which his fellow MEPs provisionally agreed to funding for environmental and climate action policies in the upcoming budget.

Farmers are the guardians of the land; they play a key role in preserving biodiversity and landscapes, and in fighting climate change, and it is imperative that they are included and supported during this transition.

“I am proud to have negotiated the target that will ensure that 32% of energy used in the EU by 2030 comes from renewable energy sources, while also ensuring the inclusion of important provisions that will help rural development to flourish,” claimed Kelly.

The Fine Gael MEP highlighted the lengths the farming community is going to in order to minimise their environmental impact.

He used the example of the collaboration between the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the ‘Smart Farming Programme’.

He argued that this programme has improved resource efficiency and reduced emissions among the farmers involved.

Irish farmers are showing leadership on climate change, reducing their environmental impact and acknowledging that change is needed to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon and resource-efficient economy.

“The just transition to a low-carbon economy encompasses all sectors, and we must ensure that nobody is left behind in the fight against climate change,” argued Kelly.

He also said that it was important that farms be handed down to subsequent generations in an environmentally-sustainable condition, while ensuring that farming remains a viable career option.

“The farming community is stepping up to the plate and this needs to be recognised. Farmers should be able to access additional support through voluntary schemes if they contribute beyond their obligations,” Kelly concluded.