IFA President Tim Cullinan said that proposals by Prof. John Fitzgerald to reduce suckler cow numbers were short-sighted and failed to take account of the economic and social contribution made by sucklers.
Tim Cullinan said the AgClimatise policy focuses on offsetting emissions from agriculture through better breeding, feed additives and the development of renewable energy.
“John Fitzgerald should be using his platform to convince our Government that agriculture has a role to play, rather that relegating our largest indigenous industry,” he said.
IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said John Fitzgerald, in his appraisal of beef farming and environmental impacts, applies the same double standards as the EU Commission does with trade deals.
“The income difficulties in the beef sector existed before Brexit, and are largely caused by the continual undermining of key UK and EU markets by substandard beef allowed onto the market, produced in countries that allow the decimation of rain forests,” he said.
He said if John Fitzgerald is serious about climate change, then he should be calling out the lack of cohesion at EU level in environmental policy and trade deals, rather than choosing a simplistic and populist narrative to grab cheap, but very damaging, media exposure for himself.
“Beef farmers are the foundation stone of an important export-oriented sector that has a significant reach across the country and in particular in rural communities, adding huge socio-economic and environmental value to the country while producing beef to the highest standards,” he said.
“As an economist, John Fitzgerald might ask why farmers operate below the cost of production when other players in the chain enjoy margins that are not disclosed,” he said.
“Beef farmers will play their part, but we will not be sacrificed because of an approach to climate action that chases easy options, and popular headlines while ignoring the real facts,” he said.