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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
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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‘Some measures would increase income but will see a reduction in animal numbers’

Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, has outlined main measures which, he believes, can reduce emissions and increase incomes for Irish farmers simultaneously.

The leader of the Green Party appeared on RTÉ Radio 1 with Gavin Jennings in recent weeks to discuss various options for cutting agricultural emissions.

Last week, the government agreed on a target of a 25% cut in agricultural emissions until 2030, as That’s Farming reported.

The minister told listeners that the country must act, not just for climate reasons but also to restore water quality and biodiversity.

“We have every reason to make this change. Anything that agriculture does not do, other sectors are going to have to do more,” he explained.

“But for the agricultural sector itself, the real key metric is how we can reduce emissions and increase income to farmers at the same time.”

He said there are three ways, in particular, where there is “a lot” of focus and attention, as he went on to list the following:

  • AD;
  • Carbon farming;
  • New form of afforestation.

The minister continued: “Could we switch to anaerobic digestion, where you use gas and other waste material – slurry – and create our own biomethane gas so we do not have to import gas and we have an income to farms?”

“Secondly, can we give a price to farmers for what is called carbon farming, where you start to pay farmers for storing carbon in the soils?”

“Thirdly, a new form of afforestation – native woodlands that farmers are involved in planting. Again, that gives them the carbon credit that they can cash in on, and also, a fuel supply into the farm in the future.”

Cut in the national herd

As this interview was before the government confirmed any sectoral emission ceilings, the presenter then asked the minister if any cut above 22% would mean a reduction in the number of cattle in the country.

The minister replied: “Some of the measures I have just mentioned would increase income to Irish farming but will also see a reduction in animal numbers.”

“You do not look at it just on the numbers; you also have to look at it on the income side,” he concluded.

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