Climate ActionEnvironmentSmart Farming

Farmers Are Playing Their Part in Addressing Climate Change, but Need a Level Playing Pitch

Speaking at the Smart Farming Farm Talk & BBQ today (28th August) IFA President, Joe Healy outlined the measures that farmers are taking to address climate change. He highlighted an appetite in the sector to do more, provided leadership and support comes from Government and the EU.

The Smart Farming Farm Talk & BBQ, held on the farm of Eamon Sheehan in Co. Kilkenny was attended by almost 300 farmers. It was opened by the Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Energy, Richard Bruton. Topics discussed included; CAP post-2020; future climate asks; and consumer trends.

Addressing the crowd, Joe Healy said, “The leadership role the Government can play in taking early action on climate is fundamental to achieving our decarbonisation goals”.

According to IFA Environment Chairman, Thomas Cooney, “It is clear from the crowds here today that farmers are engaged on climate action. Over 212,000 carbon assessments have been completed on farms, as part of Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme. With just over 130,000 family farms in the country – no other sector of society has shown this commitment”.

The IFA President highlighted the current crisis in the beef sector, which is being compounded by an oversupply in the market from non-EU countries.

“90% of Ireland’s beef exports are now in an audit and carbon foot printing programme and 100% of milk production is completing a carbon auditing cycle. This is unique – we are the only country in the world that measures, monitors and manages carbon from farm to fork.”

He said, “We are playing our part, and are willing to do more. However, it is galling to Irish farmers to see food imported into the EU from Brazil, which is wilfully decimating the Amazon rainforest to make way for intensively produced, untraceable beef. It would be illegal for any Irish farmer to farm on these terms, yet Irish beef farmers, who are on their knees, are losing out to Brazilian beef as we speak. This cannot continue.”

“The Government and EU cannot continue to speak out of both sides of their mouth, asking European farmers to do more with less, while at the same time potentially reducing the CAP Budget and signing deals with Brazil. Meeting our climate target is achievable, but only if real, credible leadership is provided.”

About Smart Farming

Smart Farming ( is voluntary programme led by IFA in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency. It works with participants to improve farm returns while enhancing the rural environment.

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