IFA call for meeting with Creed on derogation proposals

A meeting to progress proposals for the introduction of a ‘Sustainability Development Programme’ has been called for as part of a lobby group’s submission on the early mid-term review of the nitrates derogation.

The meeting with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has been requested by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

The IFA’s environment chairman Thomas Cooney said: “Farmers have made a substantial investment in improving farmyards and ensuring better nutrient management.

While waste water overflows from dated sewage treatment plants in Dublin continue, phosphorous use efficiency on Irish farms is amongst the highest in Europe.

“Also our nitrogen surpluses are amongst the lowest in Europe.”

We will be making the strongest case possible to Minister Creed, that this provides an important background to safeguard the nitrates derogation for farmers who contribute over €900 million in agricultural output in every county in Ireland.

“These farmers are a cornerstone of the future development of the sector.”

Cooney said that farmers want to do more when it comes to environmental protection and the IFA is seeking Minster Creed’s support for the introduction of a Sustainability Development Programme (SDP) for the sector.

The programme would include:
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by implementing the Teagasc climate roadmap;
  • Improving air quality by providing increased funding and removal of VAT for low emissions slurry spreading equipment;
  • Addressing water quality challenges by supporting the greater use of protected urea, lime, slurry additives and soil aeration technologies;
  • Displacing fossil fuel use, by supporting anaerobic digestion and on-farm renewables;
  • Recognising farmers’ good climate actions by counting carbon sinks from forests, permanent pastures and hedgerows.

Concluding, Cooney said: “It’s time for Government to support farmers to develop, by ensuring the continuation of the nitrates derogation and also introducing a Sustainability Development Programme, which improves efficiency and reduces climate impact.”