Farmer buy-in will be needed on emission reducing targets in order to prevent a cut to the national herd size, according to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, who was speaking at the Agri-Food Strategy 2030 at the Aviva Stadium.

“We’ve published the climate action plan and we have clearly stated that it is possible for us to meet the climate targets without impacting on the herd size. But that’s contingent on us embracing the menu that we have published,” Creed said.

Talk is the easy part

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“Talk is the easy part, we have to get buy-in from each of our farmers to make sure that herd reduction doesn’t come into play.”

Dairy

In previous agri-food strategy, FoodWise 2020, the expanding dairy industry was championed with other industries such as beef and tillage feeling sidelined. Minister Creed acknowledged that more would have to be done to promote other sectors.

He said it was of paramount importance to protect the family farm structure and recognised the fact that previous policy had delivered for the agri-food industry “but not perhaps the primary producer”.

Brexit

On the issue of Brexit, he pointed out that it was still difficult to put a figure on how much would be needed to support farmers in a no-deal scenario, given that no formal decisions on border or UK trade had been made yet as negotiations continued.

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He said he was confident that the initial €110m set aside for agriculture in a no-deal scenario would be enough money and added that it would just be the first tranche of a larger fund that agriculture would have access to and that supplementary funding would be available from the EU.

Additional reporting by Barry Cassidy.

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