Fine Gael Senator John McGahon
A Fine Gael Senator has said that the Climate Bill must not undermine the viability of sustainable farming for Louth farmers.
It comes as the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 is currently working through the Oireachtas.
Senator John McGahon said that it was important that farming families are supported by the bill, saying that Louth farmers are “very climate aware”.
“Farmers in County Louth are very climate aware, they want to pass on a sustainable and viable farm to the next generation and they have taken measures to ensure increased sustainability in their production,” said McGahon.
“It is absolutely crucial that commercial farm families are supported by the Climate Bill to ensure the very group that can most affect change and strengthen sustainability are not alienated by this legislation,” he continued.
McGahon accepted that farming practices contribute to emissions but said that farmers are working to rapidly change their farming processes to be more sustainable.
However, McGahon says that there is little attention paid to the work farmers are currently doing to combat climate change.
“There is often scant consideration given to the mitigation and carbon sequestration measures already being implemented by farmers across County Louth,” said McGahon.“Carbon budgets will play a real role in helping us achieve our emissions targets, but these budgets must take into account the measures that farmers are already taking,” he continued.
He also raised concerns over Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) reforms, saying that they should “prioritise viability” for Louth farms.
“CAP reform must prioritise viability also, to allow County Louth farming continue to be the best it can be. We don’t want to see a situation where viable County Louth farms become non-viable because of measures adopted in either the current round of CAP negotiations or the Climate Bill,” said McGahon.
According to McGahon, the agri-food industry is one of the most important in the country, calling it “crucial” to the rural economy.
“The most certain way to achieve balanced rural development is to ensure the viability of family farming in County Louth, and across the country. We must keep people farming, ensure that farms remain profitable and that farm succession is more viable to protect the family farm model for future generations, and guarantee the protection of our rural environment.”
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