The Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, has emphasized the need for significant changes in farming practices in Ireland. He highlighted the loss of nature over the past 50 years and the urgent need for restoration. Minister Ryan acknowledged that farming is a vital part of rural Ireland but stressed the importance of addressing environmental constraints. He stated that burying one’s head in the sand and ignoring the problem is not beneficial for Irish agriculture.
Minister Ryan also expressed concern about the aging demographic of Irish farmers and the lack of young people entering the profession. He acknowledged that while farming can be a viable and well-paid enterprise for some sectors, it is not the case for the majority. This further underscores the need for change in the industry.
In an interview with Agriland, Minister Ryan emphasized that farmers are not the enemy when it comes to environmental issues. He believes that the restoration of nature requires the active involvement of farmers, who have a deep love and understanding of their natural environment. He stressed the importance of collaboration and recognizing the expertise of farmers in finding sustainable solutions.
Minister Ryan also addressed the issue of the national herd and the perception that a cull is the only solution. He argued that there will naturally be a reduction in numbers due to the lack of income in certain sectors and the lack of new farmers entering the industry. He acknowledged that reassessing the numbers in the dairy sector is necessary, considering the concerns raised by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).
In conclusion, Minister Ryan emphasized the urgent need for change in farming practices in Ireland. He highlighted the loss of nature, the aging demographic of farmers, and the need for sustainable solutions. He called for collaboration and recognition of farmers’ expertise in finding solutions that benefit both the environment and the farming community.