A new road-side poster has been causing a real stir amongst the general public travelling along the N7 in Co. Kildare recently.

Located between the towns of Naas and Kill, it is pointing out – in a very graphic way – the importance of the role that agriculture plays in delivering future food security and mitigating the impact of climate change.

The initiative has been developed J Grennan and Sons.

It follows the recent decision by the government to set a 25% reduction target in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission levels within agriculture by 2030 and the potential threat to future food output levels.

“We have taken this step with the full support of many farmers, all of whom believe passionately in the future of Irish agriculture,” confirmed Niall Grennan, the managing director of the Co. Offaly-based feed compounding business.

“They also want consumers to know that production agriculture is a key driver of the Irish economy. Moreover, the industry can and will play a critical role in determining Ireland’s response to climate change.”

According to Grennan, Ireland is one of the most eco-efficient producers of food in the world. 

Putting government policies in place that reduce Irish food output, only to lead to an increase in production in countries which are not as eco-efficient, will ultimately lead to an increase in climate change, according to Grennans.

“A case in point is Brazil, a country that is planning an exponential increase in food output on the back of proposals by countries like Ireland to curtail their own levels of agricultural output,” Niall Grennan added.

“Dairy and meat are critical parts of the human food chain, despite what some may wish to believe. And its demand is only set to increase due to an ageing and growing global population.

“Attempting to tackle global warming by reducing food production here only results in an increase in carbon emission levels around the world. The reality is that production is just simply transferred to less desirable eco-friendly regions.”

The Offaly business owners feel that the Irish government and the European Union should think globally about the unintended consequences of their policies. 

Niall Grennan added:

“These new agricultural policies are resulting in the EU outsourcing food production to nations [which] have a higher carbon footprint per kg of meat and dairy, all of which will, ultimately, lead to an increase in global warming.” 

Poster campaign

The new poster aims to capture the vast wealth of natural the resources available in Ireland, allowing farmers here to produce food of the highest quality e.g., lush pastures, suitable climate and a tradition of family farming.

“Stipulating policies that have a serious and negative economic impact on the Irish farming sector makes no sense,” Grennan further explained.

“Ireland is already top of its class, showcasing sustainable farming systems. But the farming sector needs effective support. Government should aim to future proof the viability of the Irish farming industry. 

“Irish farmers understand that they must become more sustainable if they want to be a viable business into the future. They also want to work with government in doing so.

“We believe Irish farmers have the potential to be a global example and are the best producers of sustainable food, if adequate government support and funding was available,” he added.

The businessman added that this would allow for constant innovation in practices and products to aid eco-efficiencies. 

“Government must rapidly rethink its policies and promote, not demote, Irish agriculture if it wants to help in the global battle against climate change,” he told Agriland.