Farmers will engage constructively but “will not be made fools of” say ICMSA
The President of ICMSA, Pat McCormack, said that farmers will constructively engage with the climate action plan, but he warned that “farmers will not be made fools of” and the Government needs to show due respect to the farming and rural communities.
“Farmers are perfectly entitled to feel that they had been singled out by the media and some vested interests and made to ‘carry the carbon can’ while other sectors escaped any regulation or media attention. We will engage constructively – as we always do – but we will not allow ourselves and our communities to be undermined by additional costs while the same people urging restrictions on us lobby for trade deals with countries that have no intention of addressing climate change. The level of ignorance displayed by many in the media and ‘activists’ about farming has been profoundly shocking and what is especially infuriating is the knowledge that, yet again, other sectors seem to escape any similar levels of scrutiny or analysis”, said Mr. McCormack.
“We keep hearing that this is the time for blunt facts. Well, here are two. Firstly, the price of food is going to have to increase substantially to reflect the full economic and environmental cost of production. Secondly, we can no longer import food from or contemplate trade agreements with states that do not have a similar and verifiable emissions lowering regime. Otherwise, it’s absolutely pointless and the restriction of the most sustainable farming systems in favour of the least sustainable actually makes the problem worse. Those are the facts and we have to accept all the facts – not just the ones that suit our domestic anti-farming agenda”, he continued.
“The targets announced might be feasible, they might even be achievable, but we will need to maintain a viable commercial agriculture sector. We also need to be honest and accept that these policies applied to farming and food production will potentially have economic, social and demographic consequences for large rural areas of the state that are already well behind on any metric. Everyone has to accept that and no-one can pretend they weren’t told”, said Mr. McCormack.
“Ireland is to dairy and beef what California is to tech. We are not just potentially damaging ourselves nationally for no good reason, we are actually limiting ourselves in the single area in which we could have helped deal with a global problem”.
Mr. McCormack concluded by saying that the implementation of these policies requires a new economic analysis and an agreed plan that will allow our hugely important agriculture sector to have a viable and dynamic future.
Ends 4 November 2021
Pat McCormack, 087-7608958
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office
+353 (0)61 314677
ICMSA Head Office
John Feely House