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Environment & Rural Affairs

IFA has called on Government to take the following steps in support of farming’s contribution to climate action:

  1. Establish a cross-sectoral implementation group, including IFA, to mobilise Government Departments and the State’s advisory, scientific and economic development agencies to maximise the delivery of the emissions reductions identified by Teagasc in their recent climate abatement report.
  2. Work with EU leaders to introduce a carbon tariff on all less climate efficient imports into the EU from South America and other regions to incentivise carbon efficient food production.
  3. Appoint an independent Retail Regulator to ensure farmers get a fairer share of the food supply chain, allowing them to continue to reinvest to further climate proof their farm businesses.
  4. Regarding the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions:
    1. Re-examine the climate metrics applied when calculating methane, given the short-lived behaviour of methane in the atmosphere.
    2. C02 emission reductions through natural carbon sinks, such as forests and permanent pastures, should be included in the overall measurement of the contribution of emissions from the sector.
  5. On community and farm-scale renewables:
    1. The introduction of a guaranteed feed-in tariff model.
    2. Increased grid access, at node and substation level.
    3. Crowdfunding legislation and platforms.
    4. The development of regional biomass trade and logistic centres.

IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney said, “This detailed submission to Government restates IFA’s opposition to further carbon taxes on the sector, which are directly impacting on farming’s competitiveness without reducing climate emissions. The submission also highlights the multiple and sometimes competing roles that farmers have as food, fuel and energy producers, while at the same time being required to enhance the environment and the low climate mitigating potential of the sector.”

Concluding he said, “Farmers in Ireland have a proud record as carbon efficient food producers. We can and will do more, particularly in the resource efficiency and renewables areas. However, this depends on strong Government support and a fully funded CAP to meet the increased environmental and climate requirements.”


IFA has made a detailed submission to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government on water abstraction.   The submission seeks the introduction of a national package of measures to mitigate yield and income losses borne by farmers when facilitating a water supply to towns and cities.

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IFA South Leinster Chairman Tom Short has called on international contracting company BAM to engage properly with farmers to resolve several issues which have arisen during the construction of the M11 Motorway in Co Wexford.

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IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney has welcomed the support received from Seán Canney, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, for the national roll-out of a network of farm tyre waste bring centres.

Thomas Cooney said, “Minister Canney attended the successful farm tyre waste bring centre in Athenry last weekend, and saw at first hand the hundreds of farmers who travelled from the region to sustainably manage and recycle old used tyres that are not required anymore to anchor silage pits. He also understood and supported the need for the recycling service to be extended to allow farmers in other counties the opportunity to recycle these old tyres.”

“IFA has sought a meeting with Minister Canney and we look forward to working with him and his officials to build on the good work so far and ensure we all play our part in keeping the countryside clean.”

The next farm tyre waste collection will take place next Saturday in Gortdrum Mines in Monard, Co Tipperary between 9am and 5pm.

To mark UN World Food Day, Smart Farming, the voluntary programme led by IFA in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has announced its 2018 results.  World Food Day highlights important issues including food security, sustainability and climate change.

The results demonstrate the successful delivery of the Programme’s dual roles of identifying ways to improve farm returns while enhancing the rural environment.

The headline results are as follows:

  • Average cost saving on farms of €7,170
  • 9% average greenhouse gas emissions reduction
  • Soil fertility accounted for 42% of the savings
  • Grassland management accounted for 17% of savings

Commenting on the results IFA President Joe Healy said, “This has been a challenging year for farm families right across the country, with a prolonged wet spring and a long dry summer. This challenging weather is a reminder to us all of the fragility of our environment. That’s why IFA is pleased to work with the EPA and experts from Teagasc, UCD, Bord Bia, the SEAI and others to focus on ways to make a positive economic and environmental difference. For me, the single biggest success of Smart Farming is the growing number of famers wanting to participate in this programme, which is making a difference for them, their families and the wider community”.

Laura Burke, EPA Director General added, “A clean environment is the basis of a healthy life for everyone in this country. Smart Farming is an important element in the suite of programmes under the EPA’s National Waste Prevention Programme which focuses on waste prevention and better resource management in Ireland. Through this strategic partnership, the EPA is providing practical leadership to reduce the environmental impact of the farming community and to bring about the transformational change required to transition to a low carbon and resource efficient economy. The supports provided through Smart Farming are shared through peer-to-peer learning and have the potential to be scaled up across the country.”

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