Small farms will suffer most in Govt policies to reduce carbon emissions – Galway TD

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A Galway East TD has raised concerns about farmers “being brought down a road of massive herd reduction” to try to meet the Government’s carbon emission targets.

Independent TD Seán Canney said that clarity is required to offer farmers a clear pathway on how farming will have to change if the carbon targets are to be met.

He said that the KPMG economic impact assessment has shown that any carbon emission target beyond 13 to 18% will require a reduction in cattle numbers.

A reduction of 21% would reduce cattle numbers and reduce profitability by 7% for beef farmers, he said.

Deputy Canney added that a target cut of 30% in emissions would require a 20% cut in herd numbers, and that “any reduction target beyond the 18% will be devastating for the small family farm.”

“Upfront investment will be required from Government to help meet any proposed changes and offset any loss of income.”

This investment, Deputy Canney said, needs to be front loaded so that farmers can invest in the new measure so that their income is maintained during the transition period.

“There is too much talk about all the policy issues, but practical solutions are not being brought forward.

“The recent KPMG economic Impact assessment has found the smaller farm families will be hardest hit because of the proposals to reduce carbon emission. We cannot ignore this fact and we need to protect these farms.

“There is a real fear, backed up by research, that the small family farms will be being sacrificed with the large farms surviving and thriving on the back of the small family farm.

“We all hear about just transition but how do we achieve a just transition for the small family farm if Government do not introduce a comprehensive suite of supports to protect farm incomes.

“We cannot continue to discuss this issue in the dark. We need to see the Carbon Budget and proper engagement is required with all stakeholders including all farmers. Farming is now at a crossroads and is being sacrificed by Government to be.”