IFA urges more farm emission reductions

The Government’s National Mitigation Plan provides “a basis for a whole of society response” to climate change, according to the IFA.

Environment committee chairman Thomas Cooney said he also welcomed the fact that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture have declined over the past two decades, at a time of growth and expansion. This indicates an emission-efficient development of the agri-food sector. However, farming can and will do more, he said.

Mr Cooney said the IFA-led Smart Farming initiative referred to in the mitigation plan will be scaled up in 2018.

It will continue to focus on demonstrating the win-wins of improving farm incomes, enhancing the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, farmers’ ongoing participation in carbon monitoring, measuring and management will continue through participation in various programmes.

“For example, to date more than 137,000 carbon audits have been completed by Bord Bia as part of its Origin Green programme, 90% of beef exports are now in an audit and carbon-foot, printing programme and 100% of milk production is entering into a carbon auditing cycle,” he said.

IFA farm forestry committee chairman Pat Collins expressed concern regarding the potential for forestry to deliver its full climate mitigation potential. Planting is down over 14% on this time last year and reaching unsustainable levels as a direct result of the Forest Service not addressing barriers to increase land availability.

The IFA has also called on Environment Minister Denis Naughten to progress plans for renewable heat and electricity supports.

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