IFA Environment and Rural Affairs Chairman Thomas Cooney told a meeting of members of the European Parliament in Brussels last week that Ireland is taking a leadership position in addressing the climate challenge, by targeting European funding through the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) to areas that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the sector.
Thomas Cooney said, “87% of the measures in Ireland’s Rural Development Programme have climate reducing elements. These measures include the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme, or GLAS as it is known, which promotes the retention of soil carbon stocks through the encouragement of climate friendly agricultural practices such as minimum tillage, green-cover establishment and low-emission manure spreading techniques.”
He added, “This climate focus by policy makers in Ireland is making a difference, with emissions intensity per calorie of food output declining and projected to fall by 25% by 2030.”
IFA is building on this and focused on the ‘ECOnomics’ agenda, by encouraging farmers to participate in a voluntary initiative called Smart Farming. This programme aims to address the dual challenges of improving farm incomes while reducing environmental impact.
In 2017 almost 1,000 farmers across 50 discussion groups and IFA branches will have an on-farm cost saving study completed, which also highlights greenhouse gas emissions reductions and improved nutrient management on farms.