Young farmers are worried that the debate on climate change will have a negative impact on production on their farms, according to the President of Macra na Feirme, Sean Finan.

According to Finan, young farmers are concerned that any possible policy changes made during the UN Climate Change summit will directly affect their ability to grow and develop their businesses.

“Young farmers recognises that agriculture is a big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions but are worried that the debate on climate change will result in limits on production.”

He also said that there is a concern that food production will be allowed to continue in other countries with inferior standards and less sustainable production systems.

Macra’s President also said that food is a global commodity and must be taken into account when considering climate change.

“Populations worldwide are entitled to sufficient safe and sustainable food, no matter what their income level or socio-economic circumstances.

It is a basic human right. There are two undeniable facts related to these issues – populations around the world are continuing to grow and the climate is changing.

Furthermore, Finan said that it makes perfect sense to focus the efforts of producing more food in countries and regions where it is most sustainable to do so.

“Ireland is ideally poised to do this.

“For example, Ireland’s dairy farmers have the lowest greenhouse gas emissions in the world per kilo of milk produced and Irish beef farmers are in the top five in terms of emission per kilo of beef produced.”

Finan also said that there is no sense in Ireland limiting or reducing its milk production, only for demand for milk and beef to be satisfied from production in other parts of the world where greenhouse gas emissions are much higher.

After all, the polar bear does not care where the GHG was produced, he just wants it to be reduced – Irish agriculture is doing that better than most countries.

However, Finan also said that young farmers can also improve efficiency by implementing practical measures which will reduce the carbon footprint of their farms.

“Extending the grazing season by better grassland management and improving herd fertility and breeding are practical measures which improve efficiency resulting in young farmers becoming more sustainable, profitable and at the same time reducing the carbon footprint of their production systems.”