IFA President Tim Cullinan has responded to comments made by the EPA about agricultural emissions.
Speaking following comments made in the media this week by Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA, he said, “We all acknowledge that more needs to be done, but singling out a specific sector is unhelpful and unfair on farmers”.
Farmers are already taking many positive steps to make their farms more sustainable:
- Over €80 million has been invested in Low Emission Slurry Spreading (LESS) equipment. This helped contribute to a 7% reduction in ammonia emissions in 2019.
- Sales of protected urea have more than doubled in the past year, amounting to nearly 50,000 tonnes sold in 2020.
- 96% of farmers have positively engaged with the Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme (ASSAP), agreeing to put measures in place to help improve water quality.
“Farmers have achieved economic growth in the sector, not by driving emissions up, but by improving productivity, increasing efficiency and adopting more sustainable farming practices,” said the IFA President.
Based on the EPA’s 2021 inventory report, emission levels for the industry are on a par with 1995 levels. During the same period emissions from other sectors, such as transport, have increased massively.
He said that farmers are willing to do more to mitigate emissions, but they must be supported.
“The Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advice Programme (ASSAP) that works with farmers to improve water quality clearly shows what can be achieved if farmers are supported. 70% of the water bodies that have completed fieldwork under the programme have shown net improvement in water quality. We need more of these types of initiatives that work collaboratively with farmers,” he said.
“We have had enough of the blame game. It is distracting from the mammoth task ahead for Irish society to meet the climate targets”.