The president of the farming organisation Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), Pat McCormack has said that farmers were “listening with trepidation” to speeches from Cop26 and did not accept comments by the Taoiseach about stabilisng the national herd.
Speaking on RTÉ radio’s News at One, Mr McCormack denied claims that farmers’ heads were in the sand and said that they were “open to change”.
“There is a lot of investment in science and in the diet of our animals that can bring about reductions in emissions.”
Mr McCormack called for clarity about the aspirations particularly in the area of food production. Irish agriculture was in a good place from an efficiency point of view, he said.
According to Mr McCormack, the Government needed to support the dairy industry to become more climate friendly and efficient. The most recent Budget had not included a level of investment to secure the future of agriculture, he added.
Irish agriculture can deliver the changes needed, and the sector was already reducing emissions per kilogramme of production, he explained. Mr McCormack asked was the EU going to go ahead with the Mercosur deal given the actions of Brazil.
On the same programme a lecturer in climate policy, Sadhbh O’Neill, said the issue of livestock numbers would have to be addressed to reach the zero emission target.
“The actions that are taken on agriculture can secure a future for our rural communities,” she said.
“We need to follow the science.”