John Keane, Macra na Feirme president, has accused the government of omitting young farmers from its Climate Action Plan.
The rural youth organisation views the move as a “lost opportunity”.
The government published the plan, containing a roadmap for the agricultural sector to cut GHG emissions by 22-30% by 2030, yesterday afternoon (Thursday).
Reacting to the plan, Keane condemned the list where “not a single action addresses the issue of generational renewal”.
“Not once in the almost sixty actions are young farmers mentioned. Our future in the sector is being decided at the moment.”
“There is not one single action contained to address the barriers we meet in the sector.”
He said that young people and youth are mentioned “several” times through the document, but not under the agriculture heading.
Macra na Feirme has consistently articulated that young farmers are “essential” to the mitigation of climate change.
Yet, they said the government have excluded them from the plan when it comes to agriculture.
“It is the young farmers of today who will be involved in farming over the next decade and beyond that will have their lives and livelihoods affected by changes in policy and the environment.”
“The current generation and, indeed, future generations of young farmers see the positive role we can play in protecting our local environment and playing our part in climate change.”
Keane said across the globe young people are having their voices heard. He said they are involved in the climate discussion and debate, while also being part of solutions at COP26.
“What has been published [Climate Action Plan] has no direct action for our Irish young farmers. Young farmers who are highly educated, who want to be drivers of environmental change and progress.”
He said over the past five years, young farmers have invested more than €200 million in on-farm improvements. He added that these have included “numerous” climate mitigation measures.
“Young farmers have demonstrated their commitment to addressing climate change with action.”
“No clear action is detailed to allow young people enter the sector over the next decade to address and deal with the climate targets as laid out.”
“We have heard as recent as this week, the Taoiseach speak about a sustainable future for young farmers in the sector.”
“Once, again talk is cheap. Actions are once more failing in securing a future in Irish farming for young people,” Keane concluded.