Some 84% of consumers say Irish farmers should continue to produce dairy and are calling for supports for to further enhance the sustainability of Ireland’s grass-based production, according to a survey by the European Milk Forum (EMF).

The survey of 1,500 adults also found that 72% of consumers are willing to pay more for dairy products, provided farmers demonstrate it is going to improve sustainability.

Meanwhile, 69% of respondents said dairy is vital to rural communities and 67% believe that the sector is committed to more sustainable production. .

The analysis shows that consumers’ top sustainability asks for dairy farmers are improving water quality (24%), supporting biodiversity (20%) and increasing the usage of alternatives to chemical fertilisers (19%).

National Dairy Council CEO Zoe Kavanagh said: “This research tells us that consumers recognise that Irish dairy farmers are committed to producing dairy in a sustainable manner.