Climate targets won't hold back farm growth like quotas - Creed

Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Climate action measures will not become the new quota for farming, holding back growth, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has insisted.

Mr Creed was reacting to the requirement for agriculture to cut its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 10-15pc, under the Government's new Climate Action Plan.

The plan for the agriculture sector has been described as "challenging" by the farming organisations and Minister Creed.

"There is no need to believe this is a cap on production," the minister maintained.

However, he admitted there is "a job of work to do" on increasing forestry plantings and changing the mindset around forestry, which, he said is a legacy of previous planting regimes.

Teagasc research shows that 84pc of farmers surveyed would not consider planting in the future, regardless of the financial incentives offered.

"In terms of the resistance that is there…I do recognise that, but neither is it fair that a particular part of the country should be obliged to carry all of the afforestation. So whether you are living in the Golden Vale or the north west, it is equally beneficial to our targets to have afforestation."

The Department of Agriculture will engage with farmers to see how they can incentivise and encourage a greater take up of afforestation options, Minister Creed said.

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"It (forestry) is a critical part of the three legged stool - abatement; sequestration and displacement of non-renewable sources of energy."

Carbon budget

Launched yesterday, the Climate Action Plan says advanced manure management, reducing nitrogen emissions and increased animal production efficiency are the key areas to be tackled to help the sector reduce its emissions.

Agriculture is the single largest contributor to the country's GHG emissions, accounting for 30pc of the total. Farming will have a five-year carbon budget and will have to fund the cost of compliance, if it does not meet its targets.

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