Meeting agriculture’s emission reduction targets will require changes on each and every one of Ireland’s 139,000-plus farms, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said.

Speaking in the wake of the publication of the Government’s new climate action plan he said a step up would be necessary within the sector and it would not be easy.

“Change is never easy and some of these measures will take time to deliver,” the Minister said.

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"However, it is critical that we take action now, because we have to meet our national obligations, but also because maintaining our green credentials is fundamental to underpinning the competitiveness of our agri-food sector."

Challenging

He acknowledged the targets set by the plan for the agricultural sector were very challenging, but said there was no doubt that the sector will rise to the challenge and reduce emissions.

“Irish farmers are innovative, resilient and committed to working together to find solutions in the face of this enormous challenge.

"As custodians of the land they are already committed to sustainability and this commitment will ensure a vibrant rural economy for generations to come.”

He said agriculture’s contribution would be two-fold, through a commitment to increased efficiencies and the removal of carbon through forestry and the management of organic soils.

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CAP

Meeting emission reduction targets will be a key part of the Department’s engagement on the next CAP and the Irish food sector development strategy to 2030.

The Minister said there was a need to show leadership in addressing climate action and sustainability while maintaining traceable and welfare friendly food output.

“These commitments are not without challenge and require collaboration, co-operation and collective responsibility to meet them.

“We do not yet know what science will deliver in the future and we will continue to work with all stakeholders, engaging our farmers, industry, researchers, advisers, civil society and Government to identify technological solutions and new business models to drive innovation to meet this challenge,” Minister Creed concluded.