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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Opinion: The ag sector has approx 5% of active farmers under 35

In this article, Macra na Feirme president, John Keane, expresses why he believes the agricultural emissions target puts the family farm model at risk.

The 25% reduction in sectoral emissions for the agriculture sector between now and 2030 puts Ireland’s farm family model at risk.

An agreement has been reached without any plans in place as to how farmers can deliver this target.

Macra na Feirme has not seen any governmental economic impact assessment outlining how a reduction of 25% will impact the rural economy and the individual family farms that will be expected to deliver this target.

The Climate Action Plan states that “the special economic and social role of agriculture, including with regard to the distinct characteristics of biogenic methane”, must be taken into account when setting targets and plans.

Farmers have not seen this detailed in any document regarding the target or the process in agreeing on the target.

Farmers can deliver significant emissions reductions in agriculture but can also mitigate emissions in other sectors such as energy and transport, all of which must be reflected in the agricultural inventory.

The agriculture sector has approximately 5% of active farmers under 35.

We now have an arbitrary figure with no agreed science-based pathway to achieving this target that ensures farm viability and allows young people to enter the sector.

A detailed plan with substantial funding for its delivery is lacking. Farmers are failing to see the much talked about just transition in action for farm families.

Young Farmer of the Year Award Competition

Macra na Feirme has officially launched its search for the 2022 24th FBD Young Farmer of the Year.

The competition was launched in 1999 and has “successfully” raised the profile of young farmers within their community by recognising their achievements and contribution to farming.

The FBD Young Farmer of the Year Awards, in association with Macra na Feirme, are sponsored annually by FBD and run by Macra na Feirme with partnerships with the IFA and the National Rural Network.

The 2022 competition features category awards for:

  • Dairy;
  • Drystock (beef and sheep);
  • Other enterprises: horticulture, pigs, poultry, tillage, equine;
  • Land mobility and farm management.

Main awards:

  • 2022 FBD Young Farmer of the Year title;
  • Best Emerging Young Farmer;
  • National Rural Network Biodiversity Farmer of the Year Award.
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