'Environmental challenge' as big as quotas for farms
Glanbia Ireland director of strategy Sean Molloy has warned farmers must face up to environmental challenges facing the sector - and the need to retain public confidence.
"We are going to have to do the right thing but most importantly we are going to have to be seen to be doing the right thing - stand up, communicate what we are at and don't allow the agenda of the environment or debate to go into the hands where I don't believe it will be for the best outcome for farmers," said Mr Molloy.
His comments follow the Citizens Assembly recommendation of a tax on greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
As he addressed the Teagasc National Dairy Conference in Kilkenny, Mr Molloy, pointed out that farmers and industry were focused on managing the land to the highest level.
"It is in farmers' interests, and it always has been, that they would hand on the farm to the next generation if not the same then perhaps better than they inherited it," he added. "The requirements and demands on farmers into the future will be very different."
That will mean significant demands from an environmental perspective, he said. "These, unless we can approach them in a very measured and scientific fashion, will be the quota of tomorrow - be it water, nitrates, phosphorous or carbon. All are real challenges that require a concerted effort to address and we can't ignore the reality of these challenges to our industry."
Mr Molloy said major changes internationally include closing borders and a "facing the most significant threat in quite some time with Brexit upon us".