Farming Poll 2016: Poll reveals start of a conversion on the road to carbon neutral

Nearly one on three farmers in poll interested in forestry.

Again this year, the 526 farmers surveyed in the Irish Examiner ICMSA opinion pol were asked what they thought of the statement that “Irish farmers should cut back production in order to reduce global warming”.

Three our of four disagreed last year, with only 15% agreeing to any extent.

This year, the survey reveals something of a conversion, with only 53% disagreeing, and 32% agreeing.

This year, there were 15% don’t knows, compared to 9% last year.

The poll result indicates that environmental concern in relation to global warming is rising among farmers.

But it is surprisingly that older farmers aged 65 plus, at 38%, are most likely to agree that Irish farmers should cut back production in order to reduce global warming.

Farming Poll 2016: Poll reveals start of a conversion on the road to carbon neutral

Separately in the Irish Examiner ICMSA farming opinion poll, carried out in August, it was put to the 526 farmers interviewed that, “It is thought that planting more forestry in Ireland could make the country carbon-neutral. 

Using a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all interested and 5 is very interested, how interested or uninterested are you in more forestry being planted in Ireland.”

Giving their answers in the 526 face-to-face interviews carried out, nearly one in three was fairly or very interested, 16% were non-commital, and 54% were not interested

The 286 farmers who said they are uninterested in more forestry being planted in Ireland were asked if this was mainly due to their land quality being too good, or low profitability of forestry, or wanting to avoid obligations to keep land under forestry for generations, or being prevented by environmental restrictions, or some reason other than these.

Farming Poll 2016: Poll reveals start of a conversion on the road to carbon neutral

Nearly half (46%) responded that their land quality is too good, 28% said low profitability of forestry is their main reason, and 20% want to avoid land staying under forestry for generations (there is a statutory replanting obligation with grant-aided forestry).

Farmers aged under 44 were marginally more interested (34-38%) in forestry to make the country carbon-neutral than older farmers (24-30%).

Also more positive (42%) were farmers with 120 acres or more, compared to 28-31% of those with smaller farms.

And tillage and dairy farmers were more interested (60%) than livestock farmers (51%).

READ MORE: The Irish Examiner / ICMSA farming survey: Methodology 

Find more on the Irish Examiner ICMSA farming survey HERE


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