Farming in an evolving world: Climate change seminar next week

A special seminar on the relationship between climate change and agriculture is set to be held by the National Rural Network next week.

The event, which is in association with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, will be held at the Tullamore Court Hotel, Tullamore, Co. Offaly next Thursday (November 1).

The seminar will include contributions from: the department; Teagasc; researchers from NUI Maynooth and NUI Galway; the Irish Farmer’s Association (IFA); and the Agricultural Consultants’ Association (ACA).

In addition, Philip O’ Brien – officer at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and secretariat to the Climate Change Advisory Council, Ireland – will delve into the matter in detail.

Participants will hear how climate change is likely to affect Irish agriculture in years to come, along with what farmers could do to address the envisaged challenges.

Details of the impact of the ongoing fodder crises will also be presented, with agricultural advisors, researchers and stakeholders in the agri-sector are invited to attend.

Speaking ahead of the seminar, agricultural consultant Phillip Farrelly said: “Climate change presents a real and definitive challenge to Irish agriculture, and it will take a coordinated effort by all stakeholders to mitigate the impact.

“Compared to other European countries and the USA, agriculture plays a larger role in our economy and, therefore, the importance of addressing the potential impacts of climate change on agriculture including the abatement of emissions to reduce risks.

“The Rural Development Plan 2014-2020 is addressing climate by funding actions that will help reduce the impacts of climate change.

Funding is being made available for energy efficiency in the farming sector and the promotion of climate-friendly, low-carbon agricultural practices that are aimed at reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions from agriculture and increasing resilience.

“Farmer participation in the GLAS Scheme, Beef Data Genomics Programme (BDGP), Organic Farming Scheme (OFS), Knowledge Transfer (KT) Scheme, and the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) are designed to help address climate action.”

The consultant stressed the importance of all stakeholders in Ireland’s agricultural sector combining their efforts to promote change and best practice.

This would encourage farmers to adapt to technologies “which will ultimately help reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions from the sector and enhance resilience”, Farrelly concluded.