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Sustainability & Environment

Looking at Farming in the Future

 Farmers can implement a number of practices to ensure good soil management on the farm and to ensure a long-term plan of sustainable land use. Farmers need to take action by reducing the usage of pesticides and artificial fertilisers, try to use natural fertilisers such as farmyard manure and slurry and to improve animal welfare. Sustainability is here to stay and environmental sustainability at farm level is going to become more important as we enter the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the coming years. 

Increase land farmed organically as it does not rely on chemical fertilisers, pesticides, genetically modified crops and livestock antibiotics. While it doesn’t mean that farmers have to return to traditional methods, it does mean farming in harmony with the natural environment. This can involve the use of biological pest controls, green manures, crop rotations, composting and mechanical methods of cultivating the land and controlling weeds and pests. 

Farmers can improve both their profitability and improve the environmental sustainability of their farms through adopting these straight forward practices. Collectively, this can contribute to the dairy industry playing its part in Ireland meeting the national and international environmental challenges (Teagasc).

Environmental Policies

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Is a system of subsidies and support programmes for agriculture operated by the European Union. The CAP combines direct payments to farmers together with price/market supports. The objectives of CAP are to ensure availability of food at a reasonable price for consumers, ensure a fair standard of living for farmers, bring stability to markets, protect the environment and increase agricultural productivity. CAP consists of two pillars, income support and social and environmental development support.

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Green Low Carbon Agri-Environmental Scheme (GLAS)

Scheme is in place to promote biodiversity, protect water quality, combat climate change, protect habitats and promote environmentally-friendly farming. Agri-environment scheme - part of the Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020. It is a five year scheme with annual payments up to €5,000.

Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Scheme (TAMS)

Provides grants to farmers to build and/or improve a specified range of farm buildings and equipment on their holding. The scheme offers grant aid of 40% towards the cost of certain investments – 60% in the case of young farmers. Currently, TAMS schemes are available for farm nutrient storage, animal housing, dairy equipment, low emission spreading equipment, animal welfare and farm safety, pig and poultry investments, and organic capital investment.

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The Organic Farming Scheme

Provides financial support to farmers to encourage production of organic foods. To be eligible for payment you must produce livestock and crop products according to European Union organic standards complete an approved training course farm and manage the land included in the application register with, and be approved as, an organic operator by a private inspection body have a minimum farm area of 3 hectares - except for horticultural producers where the minimum farm area is 1 hectare.