AgriLand noted with interest that Minister McConalogue chaired his first meeting of the Dairy Forum on September 30.

No doubt tillage farmers are eagerly awaiting the return of the Tillage Forum which hasn’t sat since February 2017.

In that time, there have been a lot of changes and challenges in the tillage industry, and perhaps most importantly huge challenges lie ahead for the sector.

Following on from the dairy forum, the minister commented on the dairy sector’s efforts to reduce its environmental impact: “As the agri-food sector, we will be asked to increase our ambition in terms of mitigating impacts on the environment in the future,” he said.

“This is an ask that is being put on all sectors of the economy and agriculture will have to play its part.”

Tillage area in decline

If the minister wants to improve agriculture’s impact on the environment, the tillage sector will be needed. Hopefully, this is realised before more farmers and land exit the sector.

The area under tillage in this country has declined by 57,000ha (15%) in 10 years (from 2008 to 2018).

No mention of tillage

Following the launch of the Programme for Government in June, AgriLand noted that, under dairy, the plan asserted that the government will “work with dairy farmers and other stakeholders through the Dairy Forum to consider emerging challenges and continue to focus on developing new markets”.

At the time, AgriLand commented that surely a forum for all sectors is needed. Representatives of all agricultural sectors need to consider emerging challenges and focus on developing new markets.