“Agriculture has a critically important social, economic and environmental value to Ireland and as an industry, farming has a history of embracing change and a shared desire to leave the farmed environment in a better condition for the next generation”.
These were the sentiments expressed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue during the launch of the Teagasc Signpost Programme - Farmers for Climate Action - which comprises a partnership of almost 40 companies and organisations from the Irish agri-food sector, along with Irish farmers, that have come together to meet the challenge of climate change.
The programme aims to:
- Lead and support the transition of Irish farming towards more sustainable farming systems;
- Reduce agricultural emissions, specifically;
- Reduce GHG emissions to the range 17.5 – 19.0 MtCO2 eq. by 2030;
- Reduce ammonia emissions by 5% below 2005 levels, currently estimated at 107.5 kT NH3, also by 2030;
- Reduce other negative environmental impacts of agriculture, specifically, to improve water quality and to improve biodiversity;
- Reduce costs and improve margins from farming.
Meanwhile, An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, highlighted the “crucial role” of the agricultural sector in meeting the challenge of climate change, while creating resilient farms for generations to come.
“The Programme is a collaborative approach to work towards more sustainable farming systems which presents both challenge and opportunity, and I know the sector is up for it.
“Our society has faced an extraordinary series of challenges in recent times and the climate crisis grows ever more urgent.
“Tackling it remains an absolute imperative for future generations.
"The agricultural sector is Ireland’s most important indigenous industry; it plays and will continue to play a vital role in Ireland’s economy and our rural communities.
“It also has a crucial role to play in meeting climate challenges.”
Speaking during the launch, Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle said the Programme marked “a significant milestone for Irish agriculture”.
“With all parties working together, the programme can guide Irish agriculture through the changes over the next decade and support farmers as they change and adapt their farming practices,” he added.
“It will also act as a test bed for on-farm carbon sequestration measurements so that this can, in time, be taken into account by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the national Greenhouse Gas inventory.”
The Programme is supported by Teagasc, ABP, Arrabawn Co-op, Ashbourne Meat Processors, Aurivo Co-op, Bandon Co-op, Barryroe Co-op, Callan Co-op, Carbery Group Ltd, Centenary Thurles Co-op, Dairygold Co-op, Dawn Meats, Drinagh Co-op, Drombane Co-op, Foyle Food Group, Glanbia Ireland, Green Acres, Irish Farmers Journal, Kepak, Kerry Agribusiness, Kildare Chilling, Lakeland Dairies, Liffey Meats, Lisavaird Co-op, North Cork Creameries, Slaney Foods, Tipperary Co-op, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Bord Bia, AIB, Bank of Ireland, Devenish, Animal Health Ireland, ICBF, ICMSA, ICOS, ICSA, IFA, Irish Grain Growers, INHFA, Macra na Feirme, Tillage Industry Ireland, Dairy Industry Ireland (DII), Dairy Sustainability Ireland (DSI), andMeat Industry Ireland (MII).