The Rural Ireland Organisation (RIO) has called on farmers and people from urban and rural Ireland to join them in the Cop26 climate march in Dublin on November 6th.
In a statement to That’s Farming, ahead of the march, RIO leader, Loftus said:
“We are marching for several demands, which includes justice and fairness for approximately 80,000 medium to smaller farmers that are targeted here.”
“These farmers will be made the scapegoats for the polluting sectors of Irish agriculture.”
“Proposals include rewetting of land on bogs, hills and the flat plains of 300,000 hectares of reclaimed bog. Also, it is proposed to plant 20,000 hectares of trees per year.”
“This coupled, with reductions in ewe and suckler cow numbers will not be supported in line with rising costs. As one TD put it: they will naturally decline even though they are from two to four times more carbon efficient than dairy cows.”
The Mayo native warned that “rural Ireland is on the road to becoming a wilderness”.
He said farmers are “willing to do our part to reduce emissions, but we will fight whatever way we have to, to protect small, farm families”.
“Agricultural emissions stand at 35%, with dairy expansion being the main driver,” he claimed.
“Everybody else is expected to pay the price for this failed system. Taxpayers and the general public fund the CAP and pay for imported, chemically treated food.”
“They will now be asked to pay billions in fines for agriculture and Ireland’s failure on emission reduction.”
“As a result of meetings and discussions over this past year, RIO has secured the support up to thirty groups and organisations. Finally, we are calling on you to come and join us,” he concluded.
Fertiliser use and dairy cows ‘driving’ ag emissions up
According to the EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) latest provisional figures, agriculture emissions increased by 1.4% in 2020.
The EPA stated agriculture emissions have increased by 12% over the last decade.
It said increased “activity in all areas” drove this figure.
The agency listed the following as “key” drivers of 2020 increases in agriculture emissions:
- Increased fertiliser nitrogen use (3.3%);
- Also, increased numbers of livestock, including dairy cows (3.2%), other cattle (0.6%), sheep (4.8%) and pigs (2.5%).
“In the last ten years, dairy cow numbers have increased by 45.5% with a corresponding milk production increase of 60.%. In the same 10-year period, sheep numbers increased by 21.9%, pigs by 9.7% and poultry by 25.9%.”