More than half of farmers have no interest in Ireland becoming more carbon neutral.
The Irish Examiner/B&A opinion poll found that 54% said they had no interest in Ireland becoming more carbon neutral, with 46% stating they were “not at all” interested.
The finding comes as Ireland comes under more pressure to meet its greenhouse gas emission targets, with the agricultural sector coming under sharper focus because of its role in contributing to emissions.
Just 30% of those questioned for the opinion poll showed any interest in Ireland becoming more carbon neutral, including just 13% who said they were “very interested”.
The reasons offered for the generally negative response to greater carbon neutrality are varied, with 46% of respondents stating that land quality was simply too good not to use it for one of the pillar forms of agriculture such as dairy, dry stock or tillage.
The low profitability of forestry was also seen as a negative, with 28% of respondents to carbon-related questions claiming it was a reason for their lack of interest. One-in-five respondents said a desire to avoid the obligation to keep land under forestry for generations was a factor.
Older farmers, particularly those aged 55 to 64, and those in dairy and tillage, were seen as having greater levels of opposition to greater carbon-neutrality. The highest level of support for measures to cut emissions was shown by younger farmers aged 34 and under, at 38%.
Dr Kevin Hanrahan, agricultural economist with Teagasc, said he was “not at all surprised” at the findings which showed limited support for making Ireland more carbon neutral.
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