SUCKLER FARMERS MUST NOT BE MADE SCAPEGOATS IN CLIMATE ACTION PLANS

24 JULY 2019

ICSA suckler chair John Halley has said it is overly simplistic to advise that suckler numbers be reduced to mitigate climate change. Responding to proposals in the recently published Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) report, Mr Halley said, “There is no point in cutting suckler numbers if it’s just to increase dairy numbers. There is also no point in cutting our suckler numbers so beef can be produced more inefficiently elsewhere in the world. None of this makes sense.”

Continuing Mr Halley said, “It’s not good enough for farmers to take all the pain of meeting our national climate objectives when they do not have viable alternatives. It is okay for John Fitzgerald (Chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council) to say there are other ways for suckler farmers to make money, but we would like him to explain exactly what they are. It remains the case that unless there are viable policies and strategies in place to make money out of renewable gas or selling electricity back to the grid from solar panels, or sufficient supports for biofuels, particularly the move to E10 biofuel, there simply are no alternatives.”

“It will also never be the case that these alternatives will provide a panacea for suckler farmers. If we are serious about a transition to alternative income streams then additional financial supports would be necessary to accommodate that. It must be remembered that our suckler farmers are the back bone of our multi-billion euro beef industry and to suggest that they and their numbers be arbitrarily sacrificed is shameful. it is simply not realistic to think that these talented farmers can just bale out of the industry.”

“Moreover, climate change mitigation requires a multi-industry approach. The Irish agriculture sector is more than willing to adapt to evolving and more environmentally sustainable practices and to this end farmers will always respond to the right incentives. It’s beyond hypocritical to single out agriculture when we have not seen anything like the same commitment from the aviation and industrial sectors, amongst others.”

ENDS