IFA has requested a meeting with Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to progress proposals for the introduction of a Sustainability Development Programmes, as part of IFA’s submission to the early mid-term review of the nitrates derogation.
IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney said, “Farmers have made a substantial investment in improving farmyards and ensuring better nutrient management, with over €5bn being invested by farmers and the State. While waste water overflows from dated sewage treatment plants in Dublin continue, phosphorous use efficiency on Irish farms is amongst the highest in Europe. Also, nitrogen surpluses are amongst the lowest in Europe.
We will be making the strongest case possible to Minister Creed, that this provides an important background to safeguard the nitrates derogation for farmers who contribute over €900m in agricultural output in every county in Ireland. These farmers are a cornerstone of the future development of the sector.”
Farmers want to do more when it comes to environmental protection and IFA is seeking Minster Creed’s support for the introduction of a Sustainability Development Programme (SDP) for the sector, which would include:
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by implementing the Teagasc climate roadmap.
- Improving air quality by providing increased funding and removal of VAT for low emissions slurry spreading equipment.
- Addressing water quality challenges by supporting the greater use of protected urea, lime, slurry additives and soil aeration technologies.
- Displacing fossil fuel use, by supporting anaerobic digestion and on-farm renewables.
- Recognising farmers’ good climate actions by counting carbon sinks from forests, permanent pastures and hedgerows.
Concluding Thomas Cooney said, “It’s time for Government to support farmers to develop, by ensuring the continuation of the nitrates derogation and also introducing a Sustainability Development Programme, which improves efficiency and reduces climate impact”.