Speaking at the Virginia Show today (Wed), IFA President Tim Cullinan said our dairy sector is the main driver of growth for much of rural Ireland and its place as a world leader in the production of highly nutritious, sustainable food, from a grass-based model is the envy of the world.
“On display today, along with the fantastic dairy animals, is a pride in what dairy farmers do. These women and men have a passion to produce some of the most nutritious food in the world in a truly sustainable manner,” he said.
“The Food Vision Dairy Group is looking at proposals which will have potentially significant implications for the future of dairy farming in Ireland. It’s paramount that any proposals arising from this group do not endanger the low-cost, carbon-efficient dairy production model we have in Ireland. Any moves which may restrict production here will result in production moving to regions with a much higher carbon footprint.”
“The dairy sector is a key driver of economic and social sustainability in many parts of rural Ireland. This sector must be supported, not restricted, if the Government wants to have a vibrant rural economy,” he said.
IFA National Dairy Chair Stephen Arthur said the dairy sector is worth €13bn to the Irish economy. Dairy farmers have invested huge amounts of money in their businesses over the past 10 years and will continue to invest in making Irish dairy even more sustainable, but the Government must come with a realistic plan on emission reductions that gives confidence in the future of dairy farming in Ireland so farmers can see the opportunity to get a return on this further investment.
“It is very disappointing to see how the Minister and his officials agreed to potential changes in stocking rates as part of the latest Nitrates Action Plan with absolutely no consultation. Farmers have already been burdened with significant additional regulations relating to Nitrates; the Minister cannot stand by and let further restrictions be introduced which could threaten the viability of Ireland’s grass-based dairy farming model,” Stephen Arthur added.