Significant work is required to transform the proposed Rural Development Programme framework into schemes suitable for farming and the environment, the Teagasc agri-environment conference has been told in Tullamore, Co Offaly.
Alan Matthews, Professor Emeritus of European Agricultural Policy in Trinity College, Dublin, pointed out that in the design of a new agri-environment scheme, payments could be made to groups of farmers or land managers to achieve landscape-level benefits.
The conference was told the greening measures, being introduced as part of reformed Common Agricultural Policy, added to cross compliance, will form the baseline for any new agri-environment measures.
Mark Gibson, Teagasc environment specialist, said important work was being undertaken by numerous organisations in developing blueprints for future agri-environment schemes.
Padraig Brennan, Bord Bia, said food companies want to see how they can source their raw materials most sustainably.
He said Irish dairy products are the lowest in the European Union in terms of their carbon footprint and our beef is in the top five in terms of sustainable production.
Teagasc environmental economist, Mary Ryan, outlined the results of a survey of almost 1,000 farmers carried out by Teagasc in 2012.
There was strong environmental awareness among farmers and they were very positive towards the benefits from agri-environment schemes.
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