Government has been called on by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) to ensure that the soon-to-be-published recommendations from the nitrates derogation review support the sustainable development of the sector.

Urging the Government, IFA environment chairman Thomas Cooney said:

“The recommendations of the expert group established by the Department of Agriculture cannot be just about more restrictions.

“The IFA has presented a robust package of proposals as part of a Sustainability Development Programme which must be supported by Government.”

The chairman outlined the IFA’s proposals, which include:
  • Retention of the nitrates derogation for the cohort of farmers who contribute over €900 million in agricultural output each year, in every county;
  • No additional obligations on lower-stocked farms;
  • Extension of the accelerated capital allowance relief for the purchase of low emissions slurry spreading equipment;
  • Co-ordination of Government departments and state agencies to deliver farm-scale renewables and other measures in Teagasc’s climate roadmap; and
  • Supports for greater use of protected urea, lime, slurry additives and soil aeration.

“Farming is playing its part when it comes to environmental action,” Cooney continued.

“Phosphorous use efficiency almost doubled over the past two decades.

“Ireland’s dairy farmers have the lowest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per kilo of output in the EU. Ireland’s beef farmers are in the top five for lowest GHG emissions per kilo of output,” he said.

This underpins €13.5 billion in annual agri-food exports and 300,000 jobs across every parish in Ireland.

“This review must not miss an opportunity to support the further sustainable development of the sector,” the chairman concluded.