Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar has made clear that there has been no discussion at Government level about restricting output at farm level in any sector, according to the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA).
IFA president Tim Cullinan met with the Tánaiste and his Fine Gael colleague, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Martin Heydon, on Wednesday.
The IFA reports that farming’s climate targets, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Brexit, rising input costs and work permits were discussed at the meeting.
Following the meeting, Tim Cullinan said “everyone understands” the need to work towards achieving the agricultural sector’s emissions ceiling of between 16 to 18 mega tonnes of carbon, which is a reduction of between 22% and 30%.
“However, this must be achieved by continued research work to reduce methane output per animal not by using a blunt instrument to limit output. [The] IFA is totally opposed to any imposed limits on production.”
The Tipperary farmer warned that the farm sector must strike the right balance between the three pillars of sustainability including environmental, economic and social, as set out the Food Vision 2030 strategy.
“The emphasis must be on reducing methane output per animal. We need to allow time for what are very promising scientific solutions to take effect.”
Cullinan said farm input costs were also discussed with Tánaiste Varadkar and Minister Heydon.
“Costs have surged on farms this year and farmers cannot afford to have further restrictions placed on them.
“On CAP, we made it clear that a cohort of our most productive farmers are going to have their incomes decimated. The Government must come up with additional funding to support the beef, sheep and tillage sectors,” he said.