Suckler Cow Cut Proposal Based on Flawed Logic

IFA President Joe Healy has described proposals in the recently published Climate Advisory Council (CAC) report to significantly reduce the national suckler herd, as being based on the flawed logic of looking at emissions from food production on a single country basis.

The IFA President said, “The proposed cut in the herd takes no account of the economic or social consequences, particularly for areas where beef production is the backbone of the local economy, with cattle farmers spending over €1.5 billion each year on agri-inputs.

Our farmers are amongst the most carbon efficient food producers in the world, because of our grass-based model of food production. Reducing the Irish suckler herd will result in an increase in global emissions, as beef would be produced in countries with less sustainable systems.  As I recently pointed out in our ongoing campaign of opposition to the proposed Mercosur trade deal, the Brazilians are felling the equivalent of a football pitch every minute, to meet international beef demand.

The CAC recommendation will continue to fuel this climate destruction. With the world population growing it is reckless to consider reducing food production in countries who have ideal climatic conditions for producing food naturally.”

The Government’s Climate Plan clearly identifies implementing the Teagasc Climate Roadmap as the best way to reduce emissions from agriculture.

Thomas Cooney, IFA Environment Chairman has strongly criticised the CAC’s lack of vision and policy direction, to drive the delivery of the 18.5 Mt of carbon savings identified in Teagasc’s Climate Roadmap, instead falling back on the lazy option of targeting food production.

“Farmers in Ireland continue to lead climate action. No other country in the world measures, monitors and manages carbon from farm to fork at a national level. Today over 212,000 carbon assessments have been completed across the 139,000 farms in Ireland, increased numbers of farmers are using low emissions slurry spreading equipment, GLAS is fully subscribed and all farmers who receive a basic payment farm to Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions criteria.

What’s it all for, if the solution now proposed by the CAC is to reduce our climate efficient food production? This is a dismal reflection on the scientific and research work of our state agencies. That these agencies are now saying that they have failed to provide the research and technical solutions to reduce emissions, so therefore production must reduce is, frankly, shocking.

Instead the agencies should back IFA’s call for them to collaborate with the relevant Government Departments’ and IFA to deliver the fullest potential of the emissions reductions and improvements to farm level profitability that can be delivered through the delivery of the Teagasc climate roadmap.”

Related Articles