"The prevailing public attitude in terms of climate change is that you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. We very much
envisage that agriculture is part of the solution. Sustainability is core to this, and the speed with which we engage with the public in terms of the
improvements that are being made in sustainability on Irish farms needs to move up a gear. From the perspective of getting farmers to identify
with this sustainability message, we need to develop an understanding among farmers of what is involved so that they can align with it and
implement it at farm level. We have a good news story around agriculture and we need to continuously improve on that story."
"We need to acknowledge all of the aspects of
sustainability including economic, social and
environmental. For many Irish farmers, the suckler cow
is their source of economic sustainability. In an extreme
analysis of the consequences of the demise of the suckler
cow, we would reduce emissions but the economic
sustainability of large numbers of farms would be
compromised. In many areas drystock farming is essential
to maintaining the landscape and biodiversity. This is a
complex story and we need to include all of the potential
technologies that are available to solve the emissions
and climate-change issues facing us. Sequestration is
an important factor. The Beef Data Genomics Scheme
is an important technology that can reduce our carbon
footprint. Switching from calcium ammonium nitrate
(CAN) to urea has great potential to reduce emissions.
Novel slurry application is another positive development."
"Farmers undersell themselves and what they do on their farms.
So many of them are engaging in sustainable actions without fully
realising the fact. Farmers that use trailing shoe slurry spreading
technology or rain water storage for yard washing are example of
sustainable farming. The increasing use of grass measuring and
budgeting is evidence of sustainable farm practices. The message
is getting through in subtle ways, with many farmers adopting
sustainable practices that they see as just common sense and
the right thing to do. Food Wise is a marvellous initiative. We are
probably the only country in Europe with the kind of industry-
wide joined up thinking on our food sector that is contained
in Food Wise in terms of expansion, quality, sustainability and
Quotations from a number of the speakers at the
'Food Wise 2017: Challenge, Ambition, Opportunity'
conference in Dublin in December 2017
Farmer and former president,
Macra na Feirme, and CEJA
Chief inspector, Department of Agriculture,
Food and the Marine