09 Aug 2022

Longford Leader Farming: Government must come clean on plans to cut National Herd


Macra na Feirme has called on the Government to come clean on the plans to cut the National Herd

Macra na Feirme has called on the Government to come clean on the plans to cut the National Herd.


The young farmer president John Keane said “comments made by Minister Eamon Ryan on Virgin Media’s The Tonight Show on Tuesday night suggest that farmers would be expected to reduce cow numbers to grow grass and other crops to supply anaerobic digestion plants”.

The Minister was speaking in the context of reducing emissions from the agriculture sector and how agriculture can play its part.

Mr Keane said “Macra na Feirme has consistently outlined measures that can be taken at farm level to reduce emissions from Irish Farms. Macra na Feirme has also questioned the accuracy of the science supporting emission factors contained in the inventory used to calculate Ireland's agricultural emissions”.

Minister Eamon Ryan spoke about the role forestry can play at reducing emissions from agriculture and also the role that anaerobic digestion can play. Macra na Feirme’s understanding is that under the current carbon accounting model forestry is accounted for under the LULUCF sector while anaerobic digestion is accounted for under the energy sector, neither of which will be reflected in the agricultural sectors budget.

The Macra president said “this can only mean one thing that the grand plan within the Government is to reduce emissions from the agricultural sector by switching agricultural land to produce crops for anaerobic digestion or forestry and thus reducing available land for livestock production.”

No full-scale economic assessment has been conducted to ascertain the economic return for farmers that pertains from anaerobic digestion or long-term forestry given the challenges the sector faces currently.

“Young people are looking for certainty and this latest development cast doubt for the future, Macra na Feirme need to see real strategies to develop a sustainable future for young people in farming”, concluded Keane.

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