Farmers urged to tackle climate change in battle for CAP funding
Farmers must make themselves more "indispensable" towards tackling energy and climate change problems, with an uphill battle ahead in protecting the vital Common Agricultural Policy funding, it has been warned.
European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan said the CAP was viewed as "obvious targets" for cuts as other sectors come with their hands out for a slice of the agriculture or cohesion budget.
A wide-ranging Irish Farmers' Association (IFA)-EU Commission Citizens' Dialogue event on CAP in Co Kilkenny was told it was going to be a "battle" to ensure all member states would agree to top up the EU budget to make up for the €12bn Brexit black hole.
Mr Hogan said that farmers had endured a "nightmare scenario" with the recent weather-related fodder crisis.
The Environmental Protection Agency released new data showing that in 2016, Irish ammonia emissions were in breach of EU limits for the first time. And emissions for three of the five main pollutants are going in the wrong direction.
"I am saying this not in any way critical of farmers, but if you don't wake up to the reality that these are issues we have to deal with now rather than in the future, we are going to run in to a problem," he said.
Mr Hogan pointed to the Dutch problem where they had to cull 200,000 cows as they had hit their phosphate limits. "We don't want to have Irish farmers in that situation," he said.
Mr Hogan warned there were a number of budget "outliers" such as the Danes, Dutch, Swedes or Austrians who "do not want to give one extra euro" with a new seven-year budget post-2020 being decided.