Agricultural emissions

 

Sir, – There is a lot of ongoing debate about greenhouse gas emissions coming from Irish agriculture and possible solutions to reduce them.

As a society, we should look at our role in pushing agriculture in the direction that it has gone in. Over the last probably 50 years or so, there has been relentless downward pressure on food prices that consumers pay in the shops.

This in turn has reduced the price paid to farmers as the primary producers. As a result, farmers have had to intensify production in order to survive in business. This intensification has come at a huge cost. Ever-increasing cattle numbers have required multiple thousands of tonnes of energy-hungry concrete to house them, huge quantities of slurry produced, huge quantities of artificial fertiliser being used. A shortage of labour is becoming more acute.

In my work as a contractor, I meet dairy farmers on a daily basis. Very many of them are of the opinion that if they were paid a fair and economical price for their produce, they would be happy to farm less intensively, with less inputs, less pollution and fewer headaches as to where they can source labour.

Putting caps on Irish farmers so that consumers then head to the Amazon for their beef is not the answer either.

– Yours, etc,

BOB TWIGG,

Kilmeaden,

Co Waterford.