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HomeDairy120-cow dairy farms could become unsustainable and non-viable
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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120-cow dairy farms could become unsustainable and non-viable

In this article, Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher warns that Industrial Emissions Directive could jeopardise the viability of Irish family farms.

Family farms in Ireland would be at risk of failure if the current proposals from the European Commission to include small farms under the scope of the Industrial Emissions Directive are adopted.

I am not a member of the AGRI Committee, but I felt I had to speak out on behalf of family farms whose viability would be severely jeopardised if this proposal was implemented.

A dairy farm of 120 milking cows plus replacements, in general, sustains two generations of farmers – an older family and one of their children who is trying to keep the farm going into the future.

The requirements that could be placed on these farmers under the IED would simply make their livelihoods unsustainable and non-viable.

We would be effectively forcing them to wind up their business.

At today’s committee hearing, I implored the commission and fellow MEPs to think about the bigger picture; about farm sustainability and of the need to enhance food security into the future.

Farmers are up for the challenge in meeting their environmental responsibilities, but putting average family farms on the same level as large industrial installations makes no sense and risks destroying lives and livelihoods.

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When this file comes before MEPs for amendments, I will seek support to amend the proposals to make the directive fair and reasonable for all.


In a previous article, Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher shared his thoughts on the sectoral emissions ceiling for agriculture as follows:

Now that the sectoral carbon emissions targets have been announced, it is time for the government to announce tangible supports for sectors.

In the agricultural sector, it is clear that farmers will need support, and financial incentives, to help meet the targets.

Take the issue of anaerobic digestion. Last year, the government announced a pilot scheme. At the time, I questioned the necessity for a pilot scheme.

This is not new technology. It has been in use across Europe for decades. It is time for action and serious investment and cooperation with farm organisations and agricultural cooperatives.

Not only will it potentially deal with up to 14% of our methane emissions, but it will also produce high-quality organic fertiliser and provide an income for farmers in the production of feedstock.

Read more on this news article.

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