Ireland’s beef industry output would be reduced by 20 per cent if climate action measures outlined in a new industry report were implemented, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said.
The group, which advocates for meat processors, said the inclusion of measures aimed at incentivizing a reduction in the suckler herd would hurt the economic contribution and viability of the beef sector. MII estimates that the proposed cut, combined with the naturally occurring long-term decline, will severely undermine the industry and take almost €1.5 billion out of the Irish economy.
The report’s release comes ahead of the release of the government’s latest climate action plan, which must outline how agriculture will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent.
Earlier this year, Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue founded the Food Vision Beef and Sheep Group to find ways to stabilize and reduce emissions from these sectors.
The group released its final report yesterday, which details a host of widely publicized measures, including incentives to slaughter animals earlier, a drastic reduction in fertilizer use and a controversial scheme that would pay farmers to phase out livestock or reduce the number of cows to reduce.
However, despite the report’s release, many of the group members have expressed strong reservations about its content.
Among them is Meat Industry Ireland, which said its members could not support the report as it stands.
It states that despite the government’s pledges that there was no threat to a stable herd, the inclusion of measures aimed at incentivising a reduction in suckler cow herds would hamper the economic contribution and viability of the beef sector.
As things stand, the measures included in the report would result in a permanent loss of 20 percent of beef production, equivalent to a beef export loss of 700 million euros per year, and the closure of processing plants, resulting in direct and indirect loss of 6,500 jobs.
Some 14,500 farmers would leave the sector, resulting in an additional €800 million reduction in economic activity in rural areas each year, it said.
After the group’s last meeting, Minister McConalogue said that putting the beef sector on an even more sustainable footing is one of his top priorities and he believes this can build a more resilient sector for this and future generations of beef and sheep farmers.
“I understand that the actions listed have not been agreed by all members of the group, which is understandable as there are significant economic costs associated with the implementation of some of these actions, particularly at operational level.
“However, it is crucial that we first find a way to reduce emissions and know what measures can help.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/beef/meat-processors-claim-proposed-climate-measures-would-hit-beef-output-by-20-42188250.html Meat processors claim proposed climate action would hurt beef production by 20%