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Technology and digitalisation is set to change the landscape of Irish agriculture in the years to come. We, the IFA with Farm Business Skillnet want to understand how these technologies are being used and ensure that farmers are equipped with the knowledge to get the most from them.

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IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney has said that Teagasc’s climate marginal abatement curve published 250 days ago, needs to be acted upon by the Government and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action as a matter of urgency.

In June of last year, Teagasc published a scientific report which identifies the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by some nine megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is almost half of all the emissions attributed to agriculture and can be delivered by changes in agricultural practice, land-use changes and fossil fuel displacement in the sector.

Thomas Cooney said, “Instead of more carbon taxes and quotas on sustainable grass-based food produced in Ireland we should follow the science set out by Teagasc. There is a real danger that some other knee-jerk measures could add further costs to the sector and impact on jobs. They may also increase global greenhouse gas emissions, as carbon efficient food produced in Ireland will be replaced by food produced on deforested lands in Amazonian regions including Brazil.”

“Agriculture is one of the few sectors that has an emissions reduction strategy, which can make a difference for the environment, diversification of farm incomes and support rural regeneration. It’s time Government backed the Teagasc climate plan and moved to put appropriate conditions in place to make it happen,” he said.

Speaking at this morning’s All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit in Dublin Castle, IFA President Joe Healy reinforced the devastating impact that a no-deal Brexit would have on Ireland’s agricultural sector. He outlined the crisis that is already underway in the beef sector and restated his call for mitigation measures to be put in place as a matter of urgency.

Joe Healy, IFA President said “Farmers are already feeling the brunt of Brexit. Uncertainty and the drop in the value of sterling have contributed to a crisis in our beef and pig sector in particular. Hoping that there will a safety net at the bottom of the cliff is not enough. We are already in freefall. We need support now.”

Earlier this week IFA representatives from across the country assembled in Dublin and lobbied TD and Senators from their constituencies on the beef crisis and Brexit.

The IFA presented a detailed set of proposals including;

An EU Brexit Emergency Support Package involving a comprehensive set of market supports and direct aid for farmers from the EU Commission
EU state aid limitations on members states must be set-aside
Challenge the meat factories to immediately increase prices and prioritise the young bull kill.
Increase factory controls on trim, classification and weights.
Strong support for the live export trade to double numbers in 2019 and ensure that no further restrictions are imposed on the trade
Reward quality suckler stock with a significant price premium
Increased funding for suckler to €200 per cow
Insist on an increase in the CAP budget
Continue to resist a damaging Mercosur trade deal
Climate change recommendations which focus on the Teagasc roadmap with no carbon-based production quota

Speaking at an IFA lobby of TDs and Senators on the beef crisis in Dublin today, IFA President Joe Healy said a hard Brexit would devastate Ireland’s €3bn beef and livestock sector. He said, “IFA estimate the imposition of WTO tariffs in a hard-Brexit will impose a direct cost on the beef sector of €800m per year”.

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FA Poultry Chairman Andy Boylan has called on all stakeholders in the poultry industry, including retailers and wholesalers who sell chicken, to recognise the rising costs of producing chicken.

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