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The Food Vision Dairy Group met on two occasions in February. To date, there has been no substantive discussions related to new policy measures or approaches.

The terms of reference decided by the Minister for the Group is to stabilise and then reduce emissions from the dairy sector.

The initial meeting provided an opportunity to the organisations attending to set out their respective positions.

At the opening meeting, the Chairman Prof. Gerry Boyle noted that any proposals or measures put forward by the Group must ensure equity & fairness, support efficiency at farm and processing level, must be effective in terms of stabilising and then reducing emissions and measures must be flexible and simple to administer. He also outlined his preference to develop approaches on a voluntary basis.

The second meeting of the Group concentrated on the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the agriculture sector. The next meeting (07 March) will discuss options to tackle nitrogen fertiliser related greenhouse gas emissions, while the following meeting (21 March) will discuss the much more challenging issue of stabilising methane emissions from the dairy sector.

During the discussions to-date, ICOS has emphasised the importance of protecting productivity and reasonable growth within the dairy sector so as to maintain viability at farm and processor level.

It’s essential that our competitiveness as an industry, our grass-based model of production and the family farm model are all protected in the context of developing recommendations that may have long-term implications for Ireland’s very successful dairy industry.

The presentations from the first two meetings of the Group are available here

Eamonn Farrell – Agri-Food Policy Executive