Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has reassured beef farmers of his support for the sector and his confidence in meeting looming Climate Action Plan targets.
The Government is working to set its 2030 sectoral targets under the Climate Action Plan before the end of July, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.
The comments came at the Teagasc Beef 2022 open day, which took place in Grange, Co Meath on Tuesday.
The Minister reassured beef farmers in attendance that the target which will be set for agriculture will allow production levels to remain at current levels.
“We have to make a contribution, like all other sectors of the economy, in reducing our emissions in the years ahead. We’re finalising a sectoral target at the moment and there’s no doubt that the target will have to be ambitious, but importantly it will be proportionate,” Minister McConalogue said.
“We produce food really well and efficiently, and we will strive to reduce our emissions footprint at every given opportunity.”
Under the Climate Action Plan, agriculture is required to cut emissions by between 22% to 30% by 2030.
A matter of minutes later, during an address to the same audience, Teagasc Director Professor Frank O’Meara said that with current technologies available, agriculture will struggle to meet its target, even if it is set at the lower end of the scale at 22%.
“The Minister is going to have to go into the Dáil every year and account for the target so that is a new reality for us,” Prof O’Meara continued.
“What we all have to realise is that we can’t ignore these targets. Climate change is the biggest issue facing the world.”
Meanwhile, the Minister claimed that through early adoption of emission reduction methods, such as reduction in the age of slaughter, the sector will be able to meet the requirements of the soon to be announced sectoral target.
The article, ‘beef herd should be culled to help meet emissions targets,’ written by independent economic consultant Brendan Kearney, which appeared in The Irish Times on Monday 4 July, was highlighted by the minister on the day.
“I read an article in the media yesterday where an economist was calling for the reduction in the beef herd as some sort of sacrificial lamb, and that annoyed and angered me.
“While dairying has been an attractive avenue with good profit margins, it doesn’t mean that the government will turn its back on beef farmers, quite the opposite indeed.”